Malaysian sports fans were heartbroken Sunday after badminton star Lee Chong Wei narrowly failed to win the country's first ever gold medal, describing his defeat to China's Lin Dan as "cruel".
Defending champion Lin became the first men's singles player to win the Olympic title twice as he overcame his great rival 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 in a closely-fought final.
In the western suburb of Petaling Jaya, some 500 people gathered in front of a huge screen to watch the hotly anticipated encounter, often shouting: "Gold for Lee Chong Wei."
Among them was 32-year-old medical doctor Lee Wei Wei who described Lee's defeat as a "cruel loss".
"It is very, very disappointing. Lee was very close. I am heartbroken by the defeat. It is a very cruel loss," she told AFP.
"I was expecting Lee to win. But you know Lin Dan is a very extraordinary player."
Badminton is popular in Malaysia and many saw Lee as the person to end the nation's gold drought.
Malaysia first participated at the Olympic Games in 1964 and its athletes have won a total of four Olympic medals, all in badminton -- two silver and two bronze.
Lee, who had almost missed the Games because of an ankle injury, started well but faded from the middle of the second game, allowing Lin's magnificent range of strokes to flourish while it was a tight finish in the third game.
Chin Shiang Jin, 24-year-old student who was watching the game with a dozen other friends said it was a "sad and disappointing day for me".
"Li Dan is a strong and player both physically and mentally. But we thought Lee would win. It is very sad to see Lee loss as it may be his final Olympic outing.
"Lee was so close ... just two points away from the gold. I think luck was not on his side," Chin said.
Lee, who turns 30 in October, has hinted he could retire following these Olympics.
Lee now trails Lin, who has dominated the sport, by 21-9 in head-to-head meetings.
In London, Malaysia took part in nine sports: badminton, diving, cycling, archery, fencing, swimming, shooting, sailing and athletics. But many of the athletes crashed out of the competition.
Lee's silver will be Malaysia's only medal from the Games.