Five badminton players who retired in 2019

Liliyana Natsir
Liliyana Natsir
Rajan Jaykar

The year 2019 was a very happening one when it came to badminton. As Lin Dan continued to give a tough competition to young players, we also saw some new players emerge and win tournaments. Kento Momota won a total of nine tournaments, while Srikanth Kidambi failed to grab even one.

This year we also saw some of the badminton legends say goodbye to the game. Lee Chong Wei, Rajiv Ouseph, Christinna Pedersen and Liliyana Natsir played their last matches on the BWF World Tour in 2019. Let us have a look a the top five players who we will not be seeing on the court anymore.

#5. Liliyana Natsir

The former world number one in mixed doubles Indonesia's Liliyana Natsir was one of the first retirements of 2019. She announced her retirement at the home tournament of 2019, Indonesia Masters, in January 2019. She finished as the runner up at her last tournament.

Considered as one of the greatest mixed doubles players of all time, Liliyana has a total of 51 individual titles in a career of 17 years. She has one gold in mixed doubles at the Rio Olympics 2016 while playing with Tontowi Ahmad. After their victory, they became the first Indonesian mixed doubles pair to win a gold medal at the Olympics. It was her Liliyana's second Olympic medal after a silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Her other achievements include four gold medals at the BWF World Championships, two Asian Championships gold medals, and five gold medals at the South East Asian Games. Liliyana seven medals at the BWF World Championship are also the most by a mixed doubles player in the history of the sport.

She also won the All England Badminton Championship a record three times in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Tontowi Ahmad. After her retirement, she took up the role of a civil servant in Indonesia, and has started motivating people to achieve new heights in badminton.

Lin Dan's still going strong.
Lin Dan's still going strong.

#4. Christinna Pedersen

Christinna Pedersen
Christinna Pedersen

The former Danish legend won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the mixed doubles event and a silver medal at 2019 Rio Olympics in women's doubles; she is the only Danish player to have two Olympic medals in her kitty.

The silver medal came while playing with her partner Kamilla Rytter Juhl, while the bronze win was when she partnered with Joachim Fischer Nielsen.She has a total of eight medals (six gold and two silver) at the European Championships in both women's and mixed doubles event. The All England Open 2018 was her last win along with Kamilla. She continued to play mixed doubles in Kamilla's absence due to pregnancy. When Kamilla made a comeback this year, the duo went on to play a few tournament before calling it quits after the Swiss Open 2019.

She is reported to continue playing in the national corridor.

#3. Kamilla Rytter Juhl

Kamilla Rytter Juhl (L) with Christina Pedersen.
Kamilla Rytter Juhl (L) with Christina Pedersen.

Kamilla Rytter Juhl announced her retirement along with her partner Christinna Pedersen in March after the 2019 Swiss Open. The former mixed doubles world number one partnered with Thomas Laybourn to win her first gold at the BWF World Championships in 2009.

Along with Christinna, she went on to win 15 titles in the BWF circuit. Her only medal at the Olympics also came with Christinna when the pair won a silver at 2016 Rio Olympics. They were defeated by the eventual gold medal winners Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi of Japan.

Juhl is one of the greatest European badminton players, having won 10 medals (seven gold, one silver and two bronze) at the European Championships across women's and mixed doubles event. She is also a five-time gold medallist at the European Women's Team Championship and two-time winner at the European Mixed Team Championships.

BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals - Day Four
BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals - Day Four

#2. Li Xuerui

Badminton - Olympics: Day 13
Li Xuerui

The 2012 London Olympic gold medallist, and one of the top women's singles players in the sport, big goodbye in October 2019. The 2019 Korea Open was her last tournament and she had also reached the finals of the All England Badminton Championships.

Competing in the women's singles, the Chinese has lifted 27 individual titles which include two silver medals at the World Champions in 2013 and 2014. At the 2010 and 2012 Asian Championships, she won the gold medal in women's singles. She followed it with the 2014 Asian Games silver medal in singles, while also bagging a gold in the women's team event.

Li had taken a break after an injury in the year 2016. She had to withdraw from her bronze-medal match against Nozomi Okuhara at the 2016 Rio Olympics because of injury. After 600 days, Xuerui made her return to the professional circuit at the 2018 Lingshui China Masters and also went on to win it. However, she hadn't been that successful after her return. She failed to win a single tournament in 2019 before her retirement.

#1. Lee Chong Wei

Lee Chong Wei
Lee Chong Wei

Lee Chong Wei is probably one the legends of badminton in the men's singles category. The three-time Olympic silver medallist has dominated the sport for 19 years since his debut in 2000.

Lee has been a former world number one and holds the record of holding the number one ranking for 378 weeks. Out of those, he held the position for a straight 199 weeks. He has won a total of 69 titles in his career.

The Malaysian announced his retirement in June 2019 after failing to compete due to early-stage nose cancer diagnosed in 2018. He was not given a go-ahead by his doctors to participate in competitions, following which he decided to hang up his boots.

Lee had an extremely successful career with only low points being the three losses in the Olympic finals and then three at the World Championships. He has won five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and two gold at the Asian Championships.

He had a big rivalry against China's Lin Dan, who had defeated him at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals. After Lee's retirement, Dan wrote that he will "head into battle alone, as he no longer has a companion anymore".

Lee is appointed as the chef de mission for Malaysia's preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The two legends in one frame.
The two legends in one frame.
Edited by S Chowdhury


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