LEE Zii Jia admitted that he felt devastated, watching China’s Lin Dan snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Lee Chong Wei in the 2012 Olympic final in London.
The former Bukit Jalil Sports School (SSBJ) student, who was 14 at the time, said he vividly remembers watching the match with his friends.
The country went through a rollercoaster of emotions amid the 2012 decider in which Chong Wei took the opening set against Super Dan.
Lin Dan, however, bounced back to eke out a 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 win.
“The most memorable Olympic match for me is the 2012 final,” said All England champion Zii Jiaa at a press conference organised by Astro Arena yesterday.
“I can still remember watching the match together with all the badminton players, as well as athletes from other sports in the TV room of our hostel (at SSBJ).
“We all felt very down when Datuk (Chong Wei) lost because we believed he could win. He was able to lead by quite a few points during the match.
“I can remember how I felt after he lost, I never imagined I could have felt that way.”
Now, Malaysian fans are counting on Zii Jia, 23, to carry on the nation’s Olympic challenge following Chong Wei’s retirement.
Zii Jia, will, however, need to navigate a tricky draw which could pit him against defending champion Chen Long of China in the last 16.
Zii Jia seems to be mentally charged up for the Tokyo mission. “If you want to be a top player, you have to defeat whoever you have been drawn against,” he said.
“You have to beat all the best players. That is the definition of a top player to me.”