It has been a year since Malaysian badminton legend Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement on 13 June 2019
The national hero admitted to struggling over whether to call it quits for a long time, even up to the morning of the announcement
"After a long warm bath, I looked at the guy in the mirror, 'Want to try one more time?'" he recalled asking himself.
"Then my sight gazed down to my neck and body. My body was so frail and thin. My muscles were jelly soft. The scar on my neck was so deep and dark after all the treatment," said the badminton star who was diagnosed with early stage nose cancer in late 2018 which ultimately led to his stepping down.
However, LCW said his wife Wong Mew Choo gave him the strength to deal with the difficult situation
He said that as he took out a tiger-striped jacket to wear at the press conference, they could not believe that he has been wearing the national attire for 19 years of his career.
The shuttler said, "She looked into my eyes. I couldn't utter any words. She hugged me and whispered, 'You have given your all.'"
"In the car, I was told worldwide media friends would attend the press conference," he said, adding, "I took out the script, hoping to memorise one last time. My other hand? Clutching hard Mew Choo's hand."
Recalling the press conference, LCW said he had forgotten the script and was trying hard to stay composed in front of his millions of fans
"They knew I was focusing, trying to keep my emotions intact. I simply didn't want to cry in public. Not in front of millions of live Malaysian and international audience," he said.
"Then, I started to thank my coaches, my team. All a sudden, flashbacks of how I trained in Penang came first. Flashbacks of my early morning training, jokes, and banter with teammates, the walks into the court, the shouts of 'Lee Chong Wei' from fans, and the emotions of standing on the podium looking at the Malaysian flag."
"I couldn't hold back. I teared," said the former world number one and three-time Olympic silver medallist.
However, looking back, he said he made the right call
"It has been a year. A year since I announced an end to my 25 years' active badminton career span. It would never be the same for me again, but I think I still made the right decision," he said.
"After all, I have given my all, my best, although sometimes the best may not be good enough," he concluded.
While the dream to win Malaysia's very first gold medal in the Olympics remained elusive, the Penang-born player hung up his racket after earning an impressive 69 international titles and was the world number one badminton player for six consecutive years.
Malaysians were also not letting LCW beat himself down after his amazing career and flooded the comments to console him
An Instagram user said, "Thank you Datuk Lee Chong Wei. You had done your very very best. We're ultimately very proud of you. We, Kedahans, would say, 'Hang memang kemaih cendoi (You're the best)!'"
Another said, "You will always be our wira! You unite us all as Malaysians through badminton. Malaysia boleh!"
While many more agreed that Datuk LCW should explore a career in writing for his consistently tear-jerking life updates on social media.