China badminton great Lin Dan ‘too old’ and Rio Olympic champion Chen Long has climbed his mountain
Early exits at Indonesian Open continue poor run of form in build-up to world championships and Asian Games
China great Lin Dan and Rio Olympic champion Chen Long are under fire after poor performances at the Indonesian Open.
Thirty-four-year-old Lin, who won back-to-back golds at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, is now considered “too old” by the mainland media, while fans slammed Chen for “lacking fighting spirit” after his second consecutive early exit in the world tour.
“Even the greatest player cannot defy the attack of age,” said Tencent Sports, referring to Lin’s defeat. “Lin certainly wants to win but he is not the same player.
“Maybe he is still hanging on to his hey day but the world now belongs to much younger and more energetic players.”
Another fan said on Sina Sports: “With age not on his side any more, Lin will have to get used to first round exits.”
Tencent Sports said the 29-year-old Chen accepted defeat “too easily”.
“It’s difficult to reach another summit after having secured one [in Rio], but he must show the determination to stay at the top and the ability to lead players of the same generation.”
Chen was beaten by Brice Leverdez of France in Jakarta, whom he beat in all their five previous encounters. This came after his defeat by little known Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand in the Malaysia Open.
Lin was beaten by H.S. Prannoy of India, his fifth first round loss since the beginning of the year.
With the world championships starting in Nanjing at the end of the month followed by the Asian Games in Indonesia, the two Chinese stars have a lot of soul-searching to do.