Beijing (AFP)

Double Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan, considered a living legend in his sport, announced on Saturday that he would end his career at the age of 36.

"+ Persevere +," I told myself at every moment of suffering, so that my sports career could continue, "explained Lin Dan on the Chinese social network Weibo.

"(But) my physical abilities and the pain no longer allow me to fight alongside my partners," added the gold medalist in men's singles at the Olympic Games in Beijing and Olympic Games in London.

The man who also has five world titles in singles to his record had repeatedly stated that he wanted to participate in the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, postponed from July 23 to August 8, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the Chinese superstar, down to 19th place in the world, after conquering the chair of N.1 at the age of 20 in 2004, finally gave up, defeated by injuries.

The leftist nicknamed "Super Dan" had finished in fourth place in the last Olympic Games, in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, after being beaten in the semi-finals by his great Malaysian rival, Lee Chong Wei. The latter ended his career in June 2019 after suffering from cancer.

In his message on Weibo, Lin Dan paid tribute to his family, coaches, partners and supporters who "accompanied him in the ups and downs".

"I dedicated everything to this sport that I love," he said.

© 2020 AFP