Lin Dan keeps slim Olympic hopes alive after China cleared to compete in Europe

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Lin Dan still eyeing Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Lin Dan still eyeing Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Beijing: Badminton’s all-time great, Lin Dan of China and his fading hope of securing a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics got a boost after Chinese shuttlers have been cleared of the coronavirus and will play three tournaments in Europe in the next three weeks.

In a statement released by the China Badminton Association last weekend, it said that Chinese players were healthy and not infected with the coronavirus, and some Chinese players have flown to England, stayed quarantine and started their training in University of Nottingham, UK, to get ready for the German Open and All-England in March.

“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the badminton community has been wondering if Chinese team can train and participate in international tournaments. We would like to ensure everyone that all players of the Chinese badminton team are healthy and no one is infected or suspected to be infected. Most of them traveled to the UK for training last week, and the rest stayed in Beijing to apply for a British visa. ”

Lin Dan, who was registered in Germany Open and All England together with Chen Long and Shi Yuqi, didn’t depart for Britain last week due to visa issues. World No. 7 women’s singles player He Bingjiao was also running into the same visa problems, but they were expected to join the Chinese badminton team in Nottingham this week.

China’s two-time Olympic champion has now lost three times in the first round of tournaments this year (Malaysia Masters, Indonesia Masters, and Thailand Masters). He is now ranked No. 29 in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) race to Tokyo rankings, behind compatriot such as Chen Long (No. 6), Shi Yuqi (No. 13), Huang Yuxiang (No. 25), Lu Guangzu (No. 26), his prospect of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics was looking increasingly remote.

Lin, a five-time world champion and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, has always said that he wanted to end his career with another tilt at Olympics gold. If he couldn’t do well in these upcoming European tournaments, he would not be eligible for the Tokyo Olympics, thus, that also signaled the end of his illustrious career.

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