When Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement back in June 2019, the whole badminton world mourned.
LCW is arguably one of the greatest badminton players ever, and it's definitely not going to be easy for anyone to fill his shoes.
However, the badminton world was stunned once again over the weekend when another legend announced that he will be hanging up his racket for good.
A giant retires
China’s legendary shuttler Lin Dan announced that he will be retiring from the sport on Saturday (4 July).
The Star Onlline
reported that two-time Olympic gold medalist made the announcement on his social media pages, and at the same time, thanked his family and fans for their support.
"From 2000 to 2020, after 20 years, I have to say goodbye to the national team. It is very difficult to say it out.
"My physical capabilities and injuries won't let me fight with my teammates anymore," said the five-time World Badminton Championships winner on Chinese social media site Weibo.
Nicknamed "Super Dan" by badminton fans worldwide, the 37-year-old's career is nothing short of legendary, as he had completed the "Super Grand Slam" by the age of 28.
On top of that, he had also won all nine major titles the badminton world has to offer: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships.
He became the first and, so far, the only player to achieve this feat.
He is also the first men's singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal by winning in 2008 and defending his title in 2012.
To top it all of, Lin Dan had the dinstinction of winning every major badminton title by conquering the Malaysian Open in 2017.
In total, Lin Dan, regarded as the greatest badminton player of all time, has won 666 singles matches, losing only 128 in his whole career.
LCW's heartfelt tribute
Meanwhile, on the Malaysia front, the country’s number one badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei wished Lin Dan well on his decision to retire.
“Take a break my friend, you deserve it,” said Lee, as reported by the News Straits Times
Lin Dan is considered Lee’s arch-rival in the sports. Despite their fierce rivalry, they also happen to be the best of friends off the badminton court.
According to the report in NST
, Lee told Timesport
that he would like to continue working closely with Lin Dan after he has had his well-deserved break.
"This is how it is. This is the life of an athlete... a time will come when we all have to retire.
"I played for 19 years, and Lin Dan went on to make it 20. It's time he enjoys a well-deserved break,” said Lee.
Lee, who announced his retirement in June last year, also wants to continue to promote the sport of badminton with Lin Dan, as long as they can.
"Although we have retired, I wish to continue promoting the sport with Lin Dan. Badminton is in our blood.
"Of course I want him to enjoy his retirement first. Let him take his time.”
Chong Wei also posted a heartfelt poem on his Facebook page the moment he heard about Lin Dan's retirement:
Well, that's the end of an era.
Thank you for the memories, Lin Dan, and thank you for making us hold our breath every time you play against LCW.