Like so many athletes, once lauded and applauded for their feats, badminton legend Liem Swie King fell into obscurity when his days on the podium were over.
After all that glory, gold and applause, King found himself back in the real world: No intense matches, no tough training, no coach looking after him, no crazed fans shouting his name. It seemed nobody cared what became of him after he hung up his racket in 1988.
But 21 years later, King has won back what so few retired athletes manage to get: Appreciation. His biography was published and a children's movie inspired by his indomitable spirit has successfully opened in cinemas. These accolades are beyond his expectations.
"At first, I didn't believe it," says the three-time All England winner. "I didn't think I deserved any of it. . It's too much for me."
He sounds sincere when he adds, "There are still other great badminton players out there. Why me?"
That was the same question he posed to actor-turned-producer Ari Sihasale, who is behind the badminton flick King. Although King felt he didn't deserve such a tribute, Ari thought it was time to bring the legend back under the spotlight.