DOING IT FOR MALAYSIA

By: Lee Chong Wei
 
 
As I step on to the court for the final against Lin Dan on Sunday, I know I will not be alone.
 
For accompanying me will be the prayers of 28 million Malaysians, as they stand united with one wish, that I deliver the gold medal for Malaysia, thus ending our drought since Malaysia’s first participation in Olympics at Melbourne in 1958.
 
I have received thousands of messages and I thank each and everyone for their continued faith in me.
 
This is it, the day I have been waiting for since Beijing 2008. It is not a question of seeking revenge nor is it something that had haunted me since that loss four years ago.
 
On that day it was Lin Dan who reigned supreme as he had things going for him, home support, familiarity with the venue and I admit was the better player on that day.
 
And then again who can forget the one that slipped away last year, the World Championships that was in my grasp until fate dealt a bitter blow to me.
 
Redemption is the key word as I attempt to bury the ghost of Wembley and create Malaysian history.
 
The past week has been difficult, at times more difficult then the rehabilitation process that I underwent after injuring my ankle in May.
 
At times I asked myself if I still had it to make to the final, for nor was I fit as to my liking nor was I at the peak of my game. And then there was the question of phobia, for stepping onto court was not easy in the first match against Ville Lang.
 
It was a poor start, not something that I had expected and I had to sit down with my coaches Tey Seu Bock and Rashid Sidek to go through the match again and see where I had gone wrong.
 
It was against Simon Santoso that I really started feeling comfortable as my strokes were returning, I was moving around better on court and above all I started playing like what I used to.
Going back onto the injury I suffered, even I feel blessed to have had such good care from those in the National Sports Institute who worked tirelessly to help me onto the path towards Wembley Arena.
 
Who would have thought that I will be able to qualify for the finals of the Olympics? Even I had my doubts but at the same time the fact that the nation was counting on me kept me going as I fought through the pain barrier.
 
Spending 13 hours on training and rehabilitation eventually paid off and we square off tomorrow (Sunday) history has been created. For it will be the first time in Olympic badminton that two players have made it to the final in consecutive Olympics.
 
Lin Dan no doubt is the overwhelming favourite as he has beaten me numerous times and is expected to do the same here. It is perfectly fine that he holds the advantage before the match starts.
 
One must always remember that it is not what happens before the match or how a match starts, but it is how it ends that matters.
 
The rewards are there, the pledge by the government and the RM2 million gold bar by KLRC Berhad. Gold for gold is the key word that was coined by Dato Seri Andrew Kam and it has gained worldwide acknowledgment.
 
My hope is that Malaysia stands united and on my part I will give it my very best on the court. I will play as if my life depends on it and aim to end our wait for gold.