Two-time Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan, considered one of the greatest shuttlers ever, has announced retirement.
The 36-year-old bids adieu to the court with Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics golds, and five World Championship as well as six All England titles under his belt.
Lin Dan’s unparalleled tally of international titles also includes five Sudirman Cup, six Thomas Cup team championships and five Asian Games and four Asian Championships golds.
In 2011, he became the first badminton player to seal the sport’s ‘Super Grand Slam’ by winning all nine of its major titles.
He announced his retirement in a social media post on Saturday (July 4), thanking his family and fans. “I’ve dedicated everything to the sport I love,” Lin said. “My family, coaches, team-mates and fans have accompanied me through many happy times and difficult moments. My physical fitness and pain no longer allow me to fight side by side with my team-mates.”
Lin’s rivalry with Malaysian opponent Lee Chong Wei has long been regarded as the greatest in badminton’s history. Of their 40 meetings, Lin won 28.
The “Super Dan” walks away from the court after a 20-year international team career. “After 20 years, I have to say goodbye to the national team. It is very difficult to speak it out,” he said on social media platform Weibo.
According to the Chinese Badminton Association, Lin submitted a formal retirement application a few days ago.
The retirement a year before the Olympics has come as a little surprise for millions of his fans. “Now I’m (nearly) 37 years old, and my physical fitness and pain no longer allow me to fight side by side with my teammates,” he added.
Lin Dan’s retirement will mean the end of a golden era of badminton that witnessed one of the greatest sporting rivalries between him and Malaysian icon Lee Chong Wei.