PETALING JAYA: The nation's hopes rest on Datuk Lee Chong Wei to bring home Malaysia's first-ever gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, now that he is in the final.
Lee, who ended the country's medal drought since 1996 by bagging silver in the Beijing 2008 Olympics, is all set for the ultimate glitter.
He would make more than history as the country's first Olympic gold medalist, a feat much yearned for since the nation took part in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak immediately congratulated Lee on his victory and posted on Twitter: “Just spoke to Chong Wei, congratulated him for a superb win! Told him to create history for Malaysia by winning the gold.”
An outstanding array of rewards awaits if he brings home that elusive medal, including RM2mil in cash RM1mil cash incentive from the Government through the National Sports Council's (NSC) incentive scheme and another RM1mil cash from local furniture company 3V Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Then there is a 12.5kg gold bar worth RM2mil offered by gold mine owner and KL Racquet Club Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Andrew Kam and a lifetime monthly pension of RM5,000 under the NSC scheme.
Lee was hailed as a national hero by then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his silver achievement in the 2008 Olympics while the Penang Government awarded him a Datukship.
His win earned him RM300,000 cash and a RM3,000 monthly lifetime pension.
Other rewards reaped so far by Lee, currently No. 2 in the badminton world rankings, include two cars from Proton when it was the main title sponsor of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
If Malaysia wins more than one gold medal, the RM1mil cash incentive from 3V Holdings Sdn Bhd would be shared among the winners.
Besides the rewards to gold and silver medallists, bronze medallists are also offered RM150,000 and a lifetime monthly pension of RM1,500 under the NSC scheme.
Besides Lee, five national shuttlers were sent to London for the games, including world No. 8 pair Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying, and women's singles player Tee Jing Yi.
Chan and Goh bowed out of the games with three defeats in group matches while Tee lost to South Korea's Bae Youn-Joo.
Meanwhile, restaurateur Burhan Mohamed is offering patrons more reason to celebrate if Lee Chong Wei wins the gold medal.
“If he wins, he will get money and a gold bar. But besides the joy, we Malaysians who have been cheering him on should also get something.
“So, I will give a free meal to customers as something for us to celebrate too,” said the managing director of Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar.
If Lee gets the gold medal, customers would be treated to a set meal plus a cordial drink from between 7pm and 10pm at the restaurant in SS2 here.
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