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Malaysia's badminton great Lee Chong Wei. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

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Badminton great Lee announces retirement

Date : 13 Jun 2019

Putrajaya, Malaysia, June 13, 2019: Malaysian badminton great Lee Chong Wei is retiring from the sport after a 19-year career, he announced on Thursday, June 13, reports Channel News Asia.

"My decision to retire is a heavy one. I really love this sport. But it is a demanding sport. I thank all Malaysians for the past 19 years," a teary-eyed Lee, 36, told a news conference.

He wanted to bow out next year after the Tokyo Olympic Games, he said, but his doctor advised him to rest and minimise pressure.

Lee, a father of two, said he would now like to rest and spend time with his family and even take his wife on a honeymoon, a trip that has been delayed since their marriage in 2012.

The three-time Olympic silver medallist was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer in July last year. News of his condition and subsequent treatment in Taiwan were made public in September.

He said the cancer was detected following a check-up after he had been unwell. Earlier reports said he had pulled out of two major tournaments due to poor health.

However, he said he was keen to play again following treatment.

But the former world No. 1 has not trained since April and, after missing a series of self-imposed deadlines to return to competition, his hopes of being eligible for next year's Tokyo Olympics were remote.

Lee won three silver medals at three straight Olympic Games, finishing runner-up to his great rival Lin Dan of China in 2008 and 2012 and to Chen Long, also of China, at Rio 2016. Lee was aiming to become Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medallist.

"I really want to go for one more Olympics to make it my fifth consecutive appearance," he said earlier.

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