PUTRAJAYA (MALAYSIA), June 13: Cancer-hit badminton star Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement on Thursday, ending a brilliant career in which he collected a swathe of honours but never won a world or Olympic title.
Lee, who spent a total of 348 weeks as world number one but lost six world and Olympic finals, wept as he called it quits months after suffering a cancer scare.
�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 tearful Lee, 36, told a news conference.
Lee, a father of two, was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer last year and after intensive treatment in Taiwan, said he was keen to play again.
But he hasn�t 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.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist said he now wanted 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.
Lee�s unsuccessful attempts to capture Malaysia�s first ever Olympic gold medal, reaching three consecutive finals, were followed avidly by his fans, as was his long-running rivalry with Chinese superstar Lin Dan.
His last shot at the Olympic title at Rio 2016 ended in crushing disappointment when the Malaysian lost out to China�s Chen Long in a nail-biting final. � AFP