See my photos when me and my friends supported Lee Chong Wei at the badminton tournament! Read on!
A couple of weeks ago me and some of my friends headed to Birmingham for the All-England Badminton Championship – I’ve always wanted to watch that tournament live since this would be my last year of studies in the UK, and thankfully I was not bogged down by assignments that time!
We got tickets for 2 days – semi final and the final, which were on Saturday and Sunday respectively. After the hour plus train ride from Nottingham and checking into our lodging, we headed to the stadium to collect our tickets. And that was when the fun started!
It was not hard to see which flag was the most prominently paraded – none other than our very own Jalur Gemilang! I bought my own flag too and we wasted no time taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere. The whole area was like a mini Merdeka day carnival! While there were China and Indonesia flags too, there was no doubt that the Jalur Gemilang colours dominated the ticket stand!
Shortly afterwards we were allowed to enter the National Indoor Arena where the tournament was held. Malaysia’s representative at the semi-final stage were Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in the mixed doubles; and none other than our Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles. While unfortunately our mixed doubles pair could not enter the final, our World number 1 expectedly defeated his South Korean opponent and marched into the finals, facing Lin Dan.
The atmosphere was great; every time Malaysia scored a point, us Malaysian supporters would cheer as loud as we can! Of course, our familiar Malaysia Boleh chants was also used to maximum effect to provide support to our athletes; some local supporters who sit next to us did not understand what “boleh” meant, too which we gladly explained.
At the end of the semi final, a large crowd of Malaysian supporters gathered outside the stadium to sing songs and shout chants to provide support to our finalist! Many were wearing the orange Malaysian tigers polo tee and some were playing musical instruments; there was also a reporter from RTM covering the event!
At night we had some fun trying to spot out badminton players around the streets – some would be easily recognisable from their national tracksuit. Apparently Lin Dan was dining at the very same restaurant as ours!
The next day we headed to the stadium for the finals. As expected, the men’s singles was arranged to occupy the final time slot but the rest of the matches were as engaging too. Finally after the prize presentation ceremony of the 4th match, the crowd went wild with supporters of Malaysia and China battling out to chants our own player’s name! The crowd even managed to worked out a Mexican wave at that time; but slowly the noisy atmosphere turned tense as the match commenced.
In the first set Lee Chong Wei lost to Lin Dan with a close score of 21-19. However, at the score of 6-2 in the second set led by the Chinese, LCW stopped to have medical attention to his shoulder. Apparently he suffered a shoulder injury and had to retire the match, giving Lin Dan the championship. It was a disappointing news but since he would have to represent Malaysia a few months later at the Olympics in London, it was better for him not to aggravate the injury.
The crowd continued to voice their support and wave our flags too, until eventually all the players left the stadium. It was an exiting two day experience for us and I was glad to see so many fellow Malaysians! Not forgetting some sightseeing and some Malaysian food before we head home too :)