Perfect honours for legends Chong Wei and Lin Dan

In the pantheon of greats: Badminton legends Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan posing for a photograph during the Badminton World Federation’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: An honour befitting the duo who produced one of the greatest badminton rivalries of all time.

Former greats Datuk Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan had dominated the men’s singles for 20 years and were recognised for their achievements when they were inducted into the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Hall of Fame at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.

“Our rivalry that lasted 20 years was special and has no precedent,” said Lin Dan, who was the only men’s singles player to win two gold medals in the Olympics (2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London).

Chong Wei said: “We really pushed each other to hit greater heights. Each of us knew that we needed to beat the other to win a title and this made us highly motivated.”

Chong Wei captured a whopping 69 titles and was world No. 1 for 349 weeks.

He also became the first Malaysian to win three Olympics silver medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

“This honour is a great recognition of my career,” said Chong Wei.

“I want this to be an inspiration to young badminton players.

“It’s not easy but they should know that if they work hard, they can be inducted just like me and Lin Dan.”

Chong Wei was the first Malaysian since Wong Peng Soon in 1999 to be inducted. Other Malaysians who had been inducted were Eddy Choong (1997), David Choong, Ng Boon Bee, Ong Poh Lim and Tan Yee Khan (1998).

On his secret to maintaining the No. 1 ranking for such an extraordinary length of time, Chong Wei said: “There had been many Malaysians who had reached No. 1 in the world.

“It was always in my mind to set the record as the longest to hold the top rank.”

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