National high jumper Lee Hup Wei says sorry for poor performance

It has been more than a week since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics started. Thanks to men’s doubles badminton players Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, Malaysia won its first Olympic medal – a bronze – on Saturday 31st July 2021 at this Games.

With a few more days to go, we are rooting for the remaining Malaysian contingent to win the most anticipated first gold medal at the Games. Unfortunately, the journey falls short for national high jumper Lee Hup Wei who apologised for his poor performance at the Men’s High Jump event at the Games in an emotional interview with Astro Arena.

Early exit for national high jumper Lee Hup Wei at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

National high jumper Lee Hup Wei
Image credit: @leehupwei

On Friday 29th July 2021, Malaysia’s high jumper Lee Hup Wei told Astro Arena in an exclusive interview that he wasn’t able to deliver the best performance at the games due to unexpected anxiety.

The 34-year-old athlete failed to qualify for the finals after not passing the initial high jump height of 2.17m in all three attempts. Astro Arena reported that Lee had gone through a lot of obstacles to get to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, due to extreme pressure, he couldn’t perform well.

“I felt so pressured when I was there and I couldn’t feel anything else. I tried to find my rhythm but I couldn’t. I have done my best,” he said tearfully while apologising for not making it to the finals.

Among the challenges faced by Lee before qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics include recovering from a series of injuries and being tested positive for Covid-19.

Nadi Arena reporter tears up on camera after interviewing Hup Wei

Nadi Arena reporter crying on camera
Image credit: Astro Arena

Towards the end of the video interview, Lee told Astro Arena that this would be his last Olympics and he won’t be competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris as he wants to take a break from sports and let his juniors represent the country instead.

Lee, who has won multiple gold medals for high jump, is the first Malaysian to qualify for the World Championships finals in 2019 at Doha, Qatar. 

The emotional interview ended with Nadi Arena reporter Bazly Azmi thanking Lee for his contributions to the country as he teared up in front of the camera.

“I have known Hup Wei for 15 years but this time he shed tears. I hope what happened at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will not let people condemn him as he failed to make it to the finals. Let’s continue to support Lee and all other national athletes at the Olympics in our quest for the first gold medal,” Bazly said.

National high jumper Lee Hup Wei apologises for poor performance at the Olympics

It’s indeed heartbreaking to learn that Lee was unable to deliver his best performance as his emotions were running high. We hope Malaysians will continue to show full support for our national contingent at the Olympics. After all, winning and losing is an inevitable part of sports.

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Cover image adapted from: @leehupwei and Astro Arena

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