China’s Han Cheng Kai Ends His Badminton Career at 23 Years of Age

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Han Cheng Kai (top left) retires from badminton at 23 years of age. (photo: Weibo)
Han Cheng Kai (top left) retires from badminton at 23 years of age. (photo: Weibo)

Beijing: Han ChengKai, China’s current World No. 18 men’s doubles player (partnering Zhou Hao Dong), has announced his retirement from professional badminton at the age of 23 on Tuesday.

Han/Zhou are currently China’s number two men’s pair, behind China’s Tokyo Olympics men’s doubles silver medalists – Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen.

Han enjoyed early success in his young badminton career after he and Zhou won the boys’ doubles World Junior Championships in 2016. Both of them showed tremendous improvement when they beat World No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia 21-19, 11-21, 21-17 in the semi-finals of the 2018 China Open before losing to Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark 13-21, 21-17, 14-21 in the final.

One month later, Han/Zhou met with Gideon/Sukamuljo again in the French Open final, and the Chinese pair continued their hot streak by beating the World No. 1 pair from Indonesia 23-21, 8-21, 21-17 to clinch the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 750 event.

Since then, Han/Zhou have become the men’s doubles rising stars for China, and they were awarded the 2018 Most Promising Player of the Year by the BWF. Their world rankings skyrocketed to World No. 5 on April 9, 2019.

However, Han was plagued by a back injury at the end of 2019, he and Zhou’s performance has started to decline, which caused them to miss out on the Tokyo Olympics.

Han posted the message below on his personal social media page on Tuesday, expressed gratitude towards folks who have helped him in his career.

“I thought about giving up many times after my back injury, but my parents, coaches, and friends have encouraged me and supported me, which gave me a lot of motivation to continue my badminton career.

With the end of the Olympic and the China National Games cycle, I think it’s time for me to say goodbye to everyone. Thanks to the Chinese badminton team, the Fujian badminton team, the men’s doubles team, all the coaches, staff, and every teammate and partner who appeared in my life along the way, especially Zhou Haodong for accompanying me to compete in many tournaments.

Whether it is good or bad, this was a good experience in my life. For me, I had a very good badminton career! Thank you, brothers. In my last National Games, I did my best to win back the men’s team championship trophy!

Finally, I sincerely hope that the Chinese badminton team, the Chinese men’s doubles team, and the Fujian badminton team will get better and better and create greater glories in the future!

With the end of the Tokyo Olympics and the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic globally, the world of badminton seemed to move into a period of a shake-up. Three top Japanese men’s doubles players – Takeshi Kamura, Keigo Sonoda, and Hiroyuki Endo had recently quit the Japan national team, and Malaysia’s rising star, Goh Jin Wei announced her retirement from badminton at the age of 21 on Monday.

Like all athletes, time will eventually catch up to players such as Chen Long (China), Zhang Nan (China), Son Wan-ho (Korea), Sung Ji-Hyun(Korea), Saina Nehwal (India), we should enjoy their performance while we still get a chance and wish these badminton stars continue success on the badminton court.

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