Legendary Chinese shuttler Lin Dan, the first men’s singles player to retain the Olympic title, on Saturday announced his retirement, bringing down curtains on a two-decade long illustrious career. Considered as one of the greatest players in history, the two-time Olympic champion, popularly known as ‘Super Dan’, announced his retirement on China’s twitter-like social media Weibo. “From 2000 to 2020, after 20 years, I have to say goodbye to the national team. It is very difficult to say it out loud,” the 36-year-old, who had claimed gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, wrote.
“Being 37 years old, my physical condition and injuries no longer allow me to fight alongside my teammates. There is gratitude, reluctance and frustration. In the days to come, I hope to spend more time with my family, and I will also look for a new ‘competition’,” he said, according to Xinhua. He said he dedicated everything to the sport he loved.
“After going through four Olympic cycles, I have never thought about leaving, nor would I want to think about it. ‘Persistence’ is the word I told myself in every suffering moment in order to keep my career longer. “Rather than simply pursuing rankings as a young shuttler, I’m challenging my physical limits as an ‘old’ athlete under the sports spirit of never giving up.” During his glorious career, Lin Dan has also won five World Championship title and six All England champion crowns. He ended with 666 singles titles, besides numerous medals for his country.
“My thanks also go to my excellent ‘opponents’ who inspired me,” he said. Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei, who had retired just over a year ago, paid glowing tribute to Lin Dan, against whom he had raged many epic battles with the two dominating the international stage for more than a decade. “We knew this day would arrive, Heavy moment of our lives; You pulled down the curtain gracefully, You were king where we fought so proudly; Your final wave all four disappear, Within the hush of silent tear. #lindan,” Chong Wei wrote on his twitter handle.
Lin Dan had struggled in the last phase of his career, with his world ranking plummeting to 19 and it would have been difficult for him to qualify for Tokyo Olympics ahead of compatriots Shi Yuqi and Chen Long.