Badminton legend Lin Dan announced his retirement from the sport with an emotion post on social media on Saturday. The Chinese bids adieu with two Olympic gold medals and five World Championship titles to his name.
“My family, coaches, team-mates and fans have accompanied me through many peaks and difficult troughs,” Lin said in a post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo that quickly went viral. “Every forceful jump was a desire for victory. I have dedicated everything to this sport I love.”
The end of Lin’s glorious career comes just over a year after the retirement of his great rival and friend, the Malaysian star Lee Chong Wei.
The duo reigned over the sport for more than a decade and had only relinquished that hold in recent years as their powers waned.
Lee called his nemesis Lin “my greatest opponent”.
“Please believe that the laughter, tears and all the promises are unforgettable diary entries,” the 37-year-old Lee wrote on Weibo. “Proud of you,” he added.
Lee also put out a heartfelt tribute for his great rival on Twitter:
“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.”
Lee and Lin played 40 times in total, with the latter convincingly dominating their head-to-head 28-12. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic title matches were among the most memorable showdowns between the two men, who both enjoyed long spells as world No 1.
Known as “Super Dan”, Lin had a reputation as badminton’s bad boy – he sported multiple tattoos, unusual for a Chinese player, and strutted around the court with supreme confidence.
In contrast, Lee was quiet and unassuming. But his humble demeanour belied a dazzling array of weapons on the court – he was blessed with lightning reflexes and once held the record for the world’s fastest smash.
(With inputs from AFP)