Think you have seen the last of Lin Dan? Don’t bet on it.
The 36-year-old two-time Olympic gold medallist from China has vowed to keep on fighting for a record fifth Olympic Games appearance, despite the overwhelming odds.
The five-time world champion wants to set a good example for his three-year-old son Xiaoyu.
Talk of Lin Dan hanging up his racquet after 20 glorious years has been around since late last year when he began struggling to impress. He failed to make it past the second round in 15 out of 21 tournaments.
Things didn’t improve in 2020 either. He made three first round exits and was ousted in the second round of the All-England in mid-March just before the World Tour halted due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) have yet to clarify the qualifying process following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to next year, but Lin Dan’s hopes look to be as good as gone.
He is now only the fifth-highest ranked Chinese in the Race to Tokyo rankings. He is No. 26 in the world standings behind Chen Long (No. 5), Shi Yuqi (No. 11), Huang Yuxiang (No. 21) and Lu Guangzu (No. 23).
A country can send a maximum of two shuttlers only if both are ranked in the top 16. Chen Long and Shi Yuqi are the two likely to represent China.
But Lin Dan isn’t ready to to give up.
“I want my son Xiaoyu, who is still young, to know when he grows up that his father had tremendous difficulties at the end of his career. But he must also know his father still worked hard and tried to do his best.
“I hope to be his role model.”
China men’s singles coach Xia Xuanze, too, reiterated that Lin Dan has no intention of retiring anytime soon.
Lin Dan joined national team centralised training that resumed in Chengdu for a couple of days last week before being granted a three-week leave to spend time with his family, especially his son.