China's Lin Dan returns a shot during Men's single final match against China's Chen Long at the Malaysia Badminton Open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP)
Two-time Olympic champion and Chinese badminton legend Lin Dan announced his retirement on Saturday. The 37-year-old was the gold medal winner in 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. He is also a five-time World Badminton champion.
The announcement means that Lin, who took golds at the Beijing and London Games, will not be competing in the next Olympics in Tokyo.
"My family, coaches, team-mates and fans have accompanied me through many peaks and difficult troughs," he said in a post on China's Twitter-like Weibo that quickly went viral.
"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 Dan as saying in the retirement announcement.
Lin earned the nickname "Super Dan" at the peak of his career.
"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, who was eyeing a third Olympic gold in Tokyo, said is body would not allow him to fight further.
"'Persevere', I said to myself in every moment of suffering, so that my sporting career could be prolonged," he wrote on Weibo.
"Rather than simply pursuing rankings as I did when I was younger, in these years, I have been wanting to challenge the physical limits of an 'old' athlete and practise the sporting spirit that I will never give up.
"(But) my physical abilities and pain no longer allow me to fight alongside my team-mates."