BUTTERWORTH: Even politics took a back seat when the Olympic men’s badminton singles final was played yesterday.
Both candidates for the Permatang Pauh by-election took about an hour's break from their walkabouts to watch the match between Malays’a Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan.
Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim watched the live telecast barely 3km away from each other in Seberang Jaya.
While Arif Shah joined a group of youths to witness the match at a nasi kandar restaurant along Jalan Todak, Anwar stopped at a small stall on Jalan Tenggiri to watch the game.
They were not the only ones who took a break for sports – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak watched the live telecast at the Umno Youth main operations centre at Jalan Kubang Semang.
In Petaling Jaya, hundreds of people went to mamak shops and restaurants which had big screens set up for the live telecast. They cheered and clapped each time Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei gained points against Chinese Lin Dan in the men’s singles finals in the Beijing Olympics.
Despite Lee's loss to Lin Dan in straight sets, many said they were proud that Malaysia had managed to reach the finals.
Siti Mariam Mustafa, 30, said she was extremely proud of Lee.
“It really doesn’t matter to me because this is the first time Malaysia has reached the (badminton singles) final.
“No Malaysian has done it before and I’m still happy to see the results,” said Siti Mariam, an insurance executive from Bangsar.
Siti Mariam and her boyfriend Sufian Mohd Nor, 35, an IT executive, chose to forgo two tickets for Meet Dave when they realised the final clashed with the movie.
“We just knew that we had to support him as proud Malaysians,” she said.
Siblings Lew Ai Lee, Tau Fei and Tau Cherng, who were dining at a restaurant at The Curve here with their partners, arrived as early as 7pm to choose the best seats in front of the big screen showing the match.
“This is a really meaningful event because our fellow Malaysian had the chance to win the gold medal so we made sure we did not miss it.
“Lee is our favourite player and I am sure he tried his best even though he did not win.
“He put up a good fight not for the RM1mil that he was promised but for his fighting spirit,” said Tau Fei, a graphic designer from Kelana Jaya.