KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysians joined in an outpouring of sympathy Monday (August 6th) for badminton star Lee Chong Wei after his heart-breaking loss to Chinese star Lin Dan in the London Olympic Games, AFP reported.
Malaysia has accumulated five Olympic medals since 1964, but never won a gold, and Lee was its greatest hope to finally end the drought.
Malaysians gathered in droves, at home and at outdoor big screens, to watch a gripping final match that Lin – widely regarded as the best player of all time – narrowly won 15-21, 21-10, 21-19.
A visibly crushed Lee, 29, apologised following the loss – the second straight time Lin beat Lee in the final for Olympic gold. "Thank you everyone, I'm sorry I could not get gold," he tweeted.
Malaysians took to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to praise Lee despite their disappointment. For a time, #ThankYouLeeChongWei was among the top-trending hash tags on Twitter.
"We understand the pressure the nation weigh on your shoulder. You're already a hero and you did us proud," one of many supportive tweets read.
Lee is Malaysia's most successful Olympian with two silver medals, from the Beijing and London Olympics, and the country's biggest sports star.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose wife Rosmah Mansor attended the match, tweeted after the contest: "(Lee Chong Wei) gave his best tonight against Lin Dan. All Malaysians are very proud of you!"