The Tokyo Olympic is finally in place, and as we nervously watched the match that ensue between our badminton player Lee Zii Jia and China’s Chen Long yesterday, the match really had us at the edge of our seats. But alas, Lee falls to defending Olympic champion Chen Long after three sets in round of 16. Lee took the first set with a 21-8 score before the Chinese world No. 6 took the second set 21-19 eventually racing to a 21-5 win in the third set.

Of course, our hearts dropped upon watching the loss on live television. However, truth be told, our disappointment is incomparable to how Lee felt at that time. Same goes to all the Malaysian athletes who have lost their chance to advance in the Olympic. While we are a tad sad that the chances of seizing an Olympic medal is getting slimmer, nevertheless, we should still be proud of our athletes.

Following the performances and successes by our Malaysian athletes in the Rio Olympic, many of us inadvertently place a huge amount of pressure on our national team to somewhat recreate the success of the 2016 Olympic. It has been a rough year for all of us, athletes included. What was supposed to be a big event of 2020 ended up getting pushed back to 2021. During the course of the period, everyone was trying to recover from the scarring of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the Olympic Games started, netizens are quick to judge our players on social media, especially when we lost a game. Without understanding the efforts put in by our athletes, many are quick to chastise our athletes on their losses. It got to the point where Datuk Lee Chong Wei has to step in and reminds fans to be mindful on what they comment and post on social media. This is what he said:

“I’m dismayed by the online comments abusing our badminton players when they lose. As a former teammate, I can relate to them. I know these players. They played with only one aim, one goal – to win the game for the flag on the chest, to make us proud. No athlete wants to lose. In every game, there is a winner and a loser. Sometimes, it is not one’s day. If we are feeling the disappointment just by watching, what more these athletes who are playing. These players have brought joy before. Don’t mock and desert them when they lose. Support them, Support Malaysia.”

Chong Wei made the comments after many irresponsible fans have taken to their social media platforms to hurl insults after Rio Olympic Games silver medallists Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying went down 12-21, 15-21 to Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herrtrich in the Group D match.

Albeit not everyone is a keyboard warrior on social media, yet we should always be mindful about the comments we made whenever our athletes did not perform as well as expected in the Olympic. They have put in immense hard work into being able to represent Malaysia in the most prestigious sporting event. We should be grateful for them.

To our Malaysian athletes, regardless of the outcome, we are proud of you!