NAYPYITAW: It wasn’t the flourishing end she imagined but national paddler Beh Lee Wei can still walk tall after capping her last SEA Games outing with another bronze medal.
Her fighting display and her will to go the distance in her seventh and last SEA Games outing showed that she is indeed the ideal coach and role model for her aspiring charges.
The 30-year-old player-cum-coach Lee Wei gave it her best shot but it just wasn’t enough as she went down 0-4 ( 9-11, 12-14, 3-11, 9-11) to Singapore’s Isabelle Li Siyun in the women’s singles semi-finals at the Wunna Theiki Indoor Stadium C on Saturday.
It was Lee Wei’s second bronze medal at the Games, having led the women’s team for a bronze medal two days ago.
Lee Wei, a mother of one, had mixed emotions about her last SEA Games outing.
“This old lady has tried her best,” she said in jest.
“I have won a bronze medal in every SEA Games since I began representing Malaysia in 1999, but this year’s will be special, in some way, because I represented the country as a mother.
“But I am kind of disappointed because I had a chance of going into my first final. If I had nicked the first two sets against Isabelle, the outcome could have been different.”
It was indeed a nail-biting affair in the first two sets, with Lee Wei and Isabelle snapping at each other’s heels. Unfortunately, Lady Luck deserted Lee Wei and she lost both.
On the team’s overall performance, Lee Wei commented that she was happy with the strong showing of her two charges – Lee Rou You (woman) and Muhd Ashraf Haiqal Muhd Rizal (man).
“We are now grooming youngsters for the future. In this Games, Rou You and Ashraf stood out despite featuring in their first SEA Games,” said Lee Wei.
“Ashraf complemented our top player (Mohd) Shakirin (Ibrahim) well to win a crucial point against Indonesia and book a place in the semi-finals. He was consistent in all his matches – showing great fighting spirit.
“Rou You also wasn’t intimidated by any of her opponents. These juniors, however, lack exposure and I hope they will get a lot more opportunities to grow as a player,” added Lee Wei, who will now focus on the team’s next major tournament – the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, next year.
Meanwhile, Singapore continued to dominate the Games when their imports from China – Zhan Jian and Yu Mengyu – won the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively.