NEW DELHI: China's two-time Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan, one of the sport's greatest singles players, announced his retirement on Saturday.
Fondly called 'Super Dan' by badminton fans across the world, Lin became the first shuttler to retain the Olympic title when he won in the 2012 London Games after his triumph in the home event in Beijing in 2008.
"I've dedicated everything to the sport I love. My family, coaches, team mates and fans have accompanied me through many happy times and difficult moments," Chinese media quoted Lin as saying in the retirement announcement.
"Now I'm 37 years old, and my physical fitness and pain no longer allow me to fight side by side with my team mates," Lin added.
Lin also won all the sport's major titles, including five gold medals at the world championships between 2006 and 2013 and six All England crowns.
The left-handed shuttler also helped China to six gold medals in the Thomas Cup men's team event and five titles in the mixed Sudirman Cup.
He also helped the national side to three gold medals in team event and two individual singles titles at the Asian Games.
"From 2000 to 2020, after 20 years, I have to say goodbye to the national team. It is very difficult to speak it out," said Lin.
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, who lost to Lin in both the Olympic finals in Beijing and London, hung up his racquet last year due to prolonged health issues.
The rivalry between Chong Wei and Lin was considered legendary and the Malaysian paid rich tribute to his on-court nemesis through a poem on social media, accompanied by pictures of them together as children and adults.
"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," Chong Wei wrote on Twitter with the hashtag #lindan. Agencies
Lin's special records
Lin's special record at the Olympics and BWF World Championships
Lin holds the record in badminton for two successive Olympics gold medals in men's singles. He won the gold in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, followed by another top prize in the 2012 London Olympics.
Lin has won five BWF World Championships and remains the most successful player. He also pocketed two silver medals in this event.
Lin holds the record for the most titles in the open era (6) at the All England Open Badminton Championships.
He has pocketed 66 singles titles, besides finishing as the runner-up on 25 occasions.
Lin enjoyed a 30-match winning streak in 2006. During that run, he won the Chinese Taipei Open, Macau Open, Hong Kong Open, World Championships and Japan Open.
In 2011, Lin became the first badminton player to seal the sport's 'Super Grand Slam' by winning all nine of its major titles.
Lin enjoyed 666 career wins in men's singles.
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