Malaysia's best hope, badminton men's singles world no. 2, Lee Chong Wei have lived up to expectations - beating the rather dangerous (and surprisingly unseeded) Korean Lee Hyung-il.
I didn't manage to watch the match, but I guess just like the many Malaysians, I was rooting for Chong Wei to win this match, and bring glory to our home country.
The last time we won silver was in the 1996 Atlanta Games by amongst Malaysia's best pairs of all time - Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock. The silver was the best we ever had and after that best outing ever, Malaysia has since not received any medals for the other 2 Olympics (2000, 2004).
And that made me wonder, can we really win this time round? As we too went in with high hopes in the other 2 games. If not wrong, Malaysia also set 'any colour' (or was it a gold target in 2000?)... yet we came back colour-less.
And during the past few matches in this Beijing Olympics, we've seen the rest of the Malaysian badminton team exiting, and not even being able to march into the semifinals. It felt strange, as we only have 1 sole representative even though we are one of the 'mighty tigers of badminton'. But team Malaysia has seem all disillusioned... and the spirits of fellow Malaysians were low.
Except for Chong Wei of course, who gave us a fighting chance of redeeming our national pride... yes, right now, Chong Wei is our national hero.
I've been waiting to write this special moment here, and I'm glad I am able to. But a silver is not enough. I do hope that we can end our gold-less drought once & for all...
Now that we've achieved our medal target, I once again would hope that the fighting spirit continues in Chong Wei for the highest glory - for himself & for his nation.
It won't be easy, as he is meeting Lin Dan, the no. 1 player & top seed. But in fact, this is where the real test is because being in the final is actually expected based on the draw.
And yes, though we are happy & cheering, but in reality, that is what is expected for a world class player - to live to his billing, which is what Chong Wei has done so far, coming into the finals as the second seed.
But, if Chong Wei can overcome the top seed, China's Lin Dan in the finals, then that would be a historic win of overcoming the toughest challenge of it all, going beyond his billing, and creating a win that will make the nation most proud of, maybe for years to come.
Let's keep that Malaysia Boleh spirit going! :)