China superstar Lin Dan wants to continue his badminton career so his son can see him play
The Super Dan, 34, caused a controversy last week when he displayed the wrong sponsor name on his bag during a Chinese Super League match
Chinese badminton superstar Lin Dan wants to play long enough for his young son to see him in action - which means he will be around for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to reports.
The 34-year-old Super Dan, who caused controversy last week when he displayed the wrong sponsor name in a China Super League match, said he wanted to continue playing at the highest level.
“It will be difficult but I want to extend my career and am looking forward to my son seeing me play,” Lin was quoted as saying after helping his club team Qingdao to a 4-1 victory over Zhejiang.
Lin’s wife, former women’s world number one Xie Xingfang, gave birth to his son, Xiaoyu, in November last year. Although the two-time Olympic champion’s powers are waning, he feels he has enough in him to challenge for honours in Tokyo, as well as next year’s world championships in Nanjing.
The five-time world champion’s presence on the tour means his legendary rival with Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei is expected to continue through another Olympic cycle. Lin defeated Lee in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic men’s singles finals but the Malaysian edged a thriller in the 2016 Rio semi-finals before going on to lose to China’s Chen Long in the final.
Lin is one of China’s most popular sports figures and is never far from controversy. Last week, Lin caused a 25-minute delay playing for his club Qingdao RenZhou against Zhejiang’s Huang Yuxiang after being barred from walking on to the court carrying a Yonex racquet bag. League rules permit only logos by title sponsor Li Ning.
After talking with organisers, Lin was eventually allowed to play, going on to win in straight games. However, because of the delay, live broadcast of the match was cancelled and Qingdao was slapped with a 120,000-yuan (HK$146,000) fine.
Lin was transferred from Guangzhou Yueyu to Qingdao Renzhou after last season, saying he was owed more than 4 million yuan in unpaid wages by his former club.
In November last year, Chinese social media went into overdrive after photos of Lin and a mystery woman appeared just days after Xie gave birth to Xiaoyu.
The woman turned out to be model Zhao Yaqi and Lin was later forced to issue a letter of apology.
Lin played at last month’s Hong Kong Open but lost in the quarter-finals to compatriot Shi Yuqi and promptly walked out of the stadium without speaking to journalists.