DATUK Lee Chong Wei added ‘star power’ to the Penang state-level Chinese New Year open house in Butterworth as fans clamoured for a photo with the badminton world number one.
Lee was present to receive a RM30,000 reward from the state government and Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) as an incentive for him to bring home the country’s first ever Olympic gold in London where the games will be held from July 27 to Aug 12.
Lee said the pressure and responsibility he shouldered were heavy but it was his duty to deliver.
“Winning the Korea Open and Malaysia Open and receiving this cash reward have boosted my confidence and spirits going into the Olympic competition.
“In the next few months, I need to stay injury-free, rest and eat well,” he said during the event at Dewan Datuk Haji Ahmad Badawi on Saturday night.
Despite the high expectations placed on him in every games, Lee said he still enjoyed playing.
He said winning or losing was part and parcel of being a sportsman.
“Even Tiger Woods and Datuk Nicol David lose sometimes — I am no exception.
“What’s important is to find out why we lost so that we can learn from it,” he said.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also PBAPP chairman, said the cash reward was “just a start”.
“There will be more to come if Lee can fulfil the dream of all Malaysians by bringing home the Olympic gold.
“It will be a historic achievement for the country,” he said.
Thousands of visitors witnessed the cheque presentation ceremony while tucking into delicious local favourites at some 30 stalls.
The crowd was also treated to a cultural show complete with colourful dragon and lion dances, fireworks, wushu and chingay demonstrations, Guang Zhou acrobatics, Chinese mask-changing act, Shanghai classical dance, Malaysian cultural dance, Chinese traditional orchestra and water drum performance.
A special cheerleading routine and singing performances by popular local entertainers and children were also held.
In his speech, Lim said this was the first time Pakatan Rakyat had chosen Butterworth for its Chinese New Year open house.
He said: “This is in line with our aim to promote both the island and mainland.
“If the planned Third Link — a 6.5km sea tunnel connecting the island’s Persiaran Gurney to Bagan Ajam on the mainland — is successful, it will improve the economy not just for Butterworth and Seberang Prai Utara, but the entire state.”
Penang Governor Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and state executive councillors were also present at the event.