Lee Chong Wei’s Ankle Injury – Inspirational Stories of Badminton at the Olympics

Lee Chong Wei experienced a severe ankle sprain at the 2012 Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan, China. (photo: Xinhua)
Lee Chong Wei experienced a severe ankle sprain at the 2012 Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan, China. (photo: Xinhua)

Kuala Lumpur: With only one day left before the official opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, BadmintonPlanet would like to share some heartwarming badminton stories which encapsulate the competitive spirit of the Olympics and how it could bring out the best in everyone.

On May 22, 2012, roughly two months before the 2012 London Olympics. In the Thomas Cup Group C tie between Malaysia and Denmark that was held in Wuhan, China, the World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei took to the court hoping to secure the first point for Malaysia playing against Peter Gade of Denmark.

After a mere 4 minutes into the match, Lee who was leading 2-1 at that time, trying to return the shuttlecock at the baseline but landed awkwardly and suffered a bad twist to his right ankle. His ankle was severely swollen and he was forced to retire from the match. He was wheeled out of the Wuhan Sports Gymnasium Centre and was rushed to a hospital nearby in an ambulance.

The doctor said Lee would need to rest for three to four weeks before resuming his training. Given that the 2012 London Olympics began on July 27, everyone thought it was a mission impossible for Lee to recover on time to take part in the London Olympics.

In an interview published in May of 2021, Lee told the popular talk show host from China, Lu Yu, that his ankle was still very painful two days before the start of the London Olympics. The doctor gave him some pain killer and wrapped a bandage heavily around his ankle, providing strong support to his injured ankle.

“I almost lost in my first group stage match playing against a player from Finland,” said Lee. Indeed, Lee was pushed to the rubber set by Ville Lang of Finland before winning 21-8, 14-21, 21-11.

“I was so happy after I defeated Chen Long in the semi-final,” added Lee.

“Even though I lost to Lin Dan in the final, but I did not expect I could go that far by reaching the final,” explained Lee.

Lee Chong Wei’s story was so inspirational, as it reminded us that things don’t always work out the way you’d like. Lee showed us something so courageous by not giving up and fought all the way to the Olympic final.

His fighting spirit has infused resilience among the younger generation of badminton players, and he has also proven Olympics are more than just about the winners, records, and the color of medals.

Stay tuned for the final part of our “Inspirational Stories of Badminton at the Olympics” series tomorrow.


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