Many golden boys of badminton of the last decade have expressed retiring from the sport after the 2012 London Olympic Games, but Bao Chunlai, once ranked as high as second in the world, is first to hang up his racket.
The lanky left-hander from China’s Hunan has announced his retirement from the international badminton scene at 28 years of age. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) received his official retirement notice on 20 September 2011.
Known for his graceful court coverage, Bao cited recurring knee injuries as the reason for his retirement. Bao was drawn to play Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the first round of the Li Ning China Masters in Changzhou last week but had to withdraw from the competition at the last hour due to the knee injury.
Despite missing out on the OSIM BWF World Superseries event, Bao still made an appearance in Changzhou to celebrate the birthday of China’s head coach, Li Yongbo, who had turned 49 on Sunday.
Bao had missed out on competing at the 2011 BWF World Championships in August, as China had chosen to field Du Pengyu, who had earned his ticket to London after a good showing at the Li Ning Singapore Open in June and earlier on at the Asian Championships in April.
Currently 11th on the BWF world rankings, but a consistent top 10 figure over the last decade, Bao had enjoyed a decorated badminton career since emerging into the international scene a decade ago where he captured his first individual title at the 2001 Denmark Open.
He was only 18-years-old.
Since then, Bao was also crowned Asian champion in 2009 and has won one silver medal and two bronze medals at the BWF World Championships between 2003-2007. Bao was also part of the winning Chinese team at four consecutive Thomas Cup Finals between 2004-2010.
“I’m disappointed that my knee injury has resulted in my poor form lately, though after so many years, of ups and downs, I’m used to having injuries on this journey”, Bao said on his personal QQ micro-blog.
“Nonetheless,” Bao added, “I’m comforted to know and I’m thankful for the fans and friends who persisted in supporting me and staying by my side throughout. Come what may, I’ll continue to work hard towards pursuing my dreams in life.”