Fuzhou: Lin Dan – who is considered the greatest badminton player of all time, suffered his 8th first round exit of the season in the Fuzhou China Open on Wednesday. Lin also denied the report that he would retire after the Fuzhou China Open and reasserted he would not give up his dream of making his fifth Olympic appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The 36-year-old Chinese player lost the China Open first round competition to compatriot Chen Long 21-19, 12-21, 12-21 in an 81-minute battle.
The loss was another blow for his increasingly unlikely chance of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics but Lin Dan vowed to keep fighting despite the Chinese media has reported that Fuzhou would be his last tournament.
“I don’t know anything about the rumors, I think it’s too early for me to talk about retirement,” said Lin.
“I will not give up on qualifying for the 2020 Olympics until the very last minute,” added Lin.
“This is the most difficult Olympic qualifying period that I’ve ever faced in my career. The problem is mainly to compete with my teammates. I’ll try to play at my true level in every tournaments during this period,” explained Lin.
Lin Dan, the five-time world champion and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, is facing the competition from Chen Long and Shi Yuqi, who just came back from an ankle problem.
With a maximum of two players per country permitted at Tokyo 2020, Chen is currently ranked No. 6 in the BWF race to Tokyo ranking, while Lin is ranked 17th and Shi Yuqi is at 40th.