GENTING HIGHLANDS: It was truly a nostalgic and fun night for about 1,500 badminton fans as Lee Chong Wei wowed the crowd with an entertaining display at the Arena of Stars here on Saturday (Dec 28).
The "Grand Match" certainly lived up to its hype, boasting among others 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying; 2018 Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia; 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Woon Khe Wei; and 2016 Malaysian Masters runner-up Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.
The three-hour, fund-raising exhibition matches were not only action-packed but light-hearted too.
Chong Wei and Co took turns to show off their skills and bantered with each other throughout the matches to delight and laughter from the fans.
Chong Wei did not disappoint the fans, who paid between RM168 and RM888 to watch him in action again.
He played a total of three matches. And won all of them.
He first partnered Liu Ying to beat Peng Soon-Khe Wei 11-6, before returning to the court shortly afterwards to team up with Peng Soon to beat Jonatan-Iskandar 12-10.
But the best was saved for last when Chong Wei suggested a "mixed triples" match.
Joining forces with Peng Soon and Liu Ying, the trio played against Jonatan, Khe Wei and Iskandar with the game tying at 21-21. At this point, Peng Soon and Liu Ying abruptly crossed over to the other side of the court, leaving Chong Wei to "take on" five opponents on his own.
Chong Wei duly picked up the last two points to serve a befitting end to the "Grand Match".
The event saw RM77,930 raised for the Lee Chong Wei Foundation.
Seven items, comprising mostly rackets and shirts donated by Chong Wei, Peng Soon and Liu Ying, were put up for auction.
The racket used by Chong Wei at the event netted the highest bidding price of RM40,000.
The 2016 Rio Olympics shirt worn by Chong Wei in his famous 15-21,21-11,22-20 win over arch-rival Lin Dan in the semi-final, fetched a whopping RM24,888.
The night ended with a video of fellow shuttlers from around the world, including world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan and Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen, wishing him a happy retirement.
Liu Ying, representing the other on-court players, conveyed a heartfelt message to Chong Wei that left him in tears.
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