FORMER World No. 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who announced his retirement from professional badminton today, will be taking part in the Torch Run during the Olympic Day Celebration at the Esplanade in Penang on June 23.
State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said Chong Wei, 36, has accepted the invitation to join the Torch Run.
He said Chong Wei would jointly run the final stretch together with national shuttler Goh Jin Wei, the 2018 world junior badminton champion.
“Chong Wei has confirmed that he would be coming for the Torch Run. Until now, some former Olympic athletes from Penang have confirmed their attendance,” Soon said in his speech during the officiating of the volleyball competition at the Penang Olympic Carnival 2019 at Dewan Azman Hashim in Universiti Sains Malaysia today.
Chong Wei, who was treated for early-stage cancer last July in Taiwan, has finally decided to quit. He has accepted the fact that top-flight badminton would be too demanding for his physical condition.
During his illustrious 19-year career, Chong Wei had bagged 69 titles. He unfortunately fell at the last hurdle when it came to the Olympics and World Championships. Chong Wei was a three-time Olympic silver medallist in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 as well as finished runner-up in the three World Championships outings in London (2011), Guangzhou (2013) and Jakarta (2015).
Soon said the Olympic Day Celebration would begin at 7pm at the Esplanade on June 23 but before that, a 5km Family Fun Walk would be held at the same venue at 5.30pm. This will be followed by the Torch Run and other exciting events, including a ‘Countdown to Tokyo 2020’.
One of the girls’ Under-18 teams posing for a group photograph before getting ready for their matches.
A mini Olympic involving sports like athletics, football clinic, handball, woodball demonstration, cycling, table tennis, netball, sepak raga and skateboard will also be held at the Esplanade.
Some of the former Penang Olympians who have confirmed their attendance are Datuk T. Krishnan, Keevan Raj, Takbir Ahmad Nazir, Cheng Chu Sian and Jiwa Mohan.
Soon said there would be 100 lucky prizes, with two tickets to the Tokyo Olympics up for grabs.
Penang is being given the honour by the Olympic Council of Malaysia to organise four sports – volleyball, badminton, tenpin bowling and sepak takraw – at the Penang Olympic Carnival 2019. They are all expected to be completed on June 22.
The volleyball competition, which began yesterday, has attracted 564 players (288 from Under-18 and 276 from the Open category) from Terengganu, Kedah, Perak and Penang.
There are altogether 18 teams each participating in boys’ Under-18 and girls’ Under-18, and seven teams in the Women’s Open and 16 teams in the Men’s Open.
Also present at the opening ceremony of the volleyball competition were Penang State Sports Council director Frederick Tan Teck An (who is also the Penang Olympic Carnival vice-chairman), assemblymen A. Kumaresan (Batu Uban), Ong Ah Teong (Batu Lancang) and Joseph Ng (Air Itam), head of Human Development Sector at the Penang Education Department Ismail Mohd Said, USM Recreation and Sports Centre director Prof Dr Ahmad Munir and Penang Volleyball Association deputy president Fong Hock Guan.
Source: Buletin Mutiara