Former Olympic Champion Li Xuerui retires from badminton

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This was the injury that pretty much ended Li Xuerui's badminton career. (photo: AFP)
This was the injury that pretty much ended Li Xuerui's badminton career. (photo: AFP)

Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) posted on its web site on Thursday that London Olympic gold medalist, Li Xuerui has officially retired from professional badminton.

Li Xuerui sustained a career ending injury in the semi-final of Rio Olympic where she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and also had injured her lateral meniscus. She returned to international competition at the BWF Tour’s Lingshui China Masters in April 2018 after being sidelined for 600 days due to the injury. She ended up winning the Lingshui China Masters, and also claimed the US Open and Canada Open titles. Nevertheless, she has been struggling to perform well at top-tier tournaments.

The 28-year-old became the youngest player to ever win an Olympic badminton gold when she defeated fellow compatriot Wang Yihan with a score of 21–15, 21–23, 21–17 in the London Olympic final at the age of 21.

She was ranked World No.1 from 2013 and 2015, but suffered two consecutive defeats at the finals of the BWF World Championships in 2013 (lost to Ratchanok Intanon) and 2014 (lost to Carolina Marin).

With her retirement, she finished her international badminton career with 14 Superseries titles and she was named BWF Female Player of the Year in 2013.

The BWF article also said that Li will always be remembered “as an attacking player with a never-say-die spirit, who, along with her compatriots Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian, continued China’s glorious tradition in women’s singles”.

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