Lee Chong Wei is my fiercest opponent: Lin Dan

In a career spanning 16 years, Lin Dan has won all nine major titles in the badminton world. At 32 now, he is still motivated to clinch his third Olympic gold at Rio Games and says he will always consider Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei as his fiercest opponent.

A two-time Olympic champion, Super Dan is still going strong.   -  REUTERS

Revered across the globe as one of the greatest badminton players of all time, Chinese superstar Lin Dan remains a mystery for both fans and critics, who have failed to decode his dominance of the last 16 years.

A two-time Olympic champion, ‘Super Dan’ — a title given by his one-time opponent Peter Gade of Denmark — is still going strong and clinched his sixth All England title earlier this month.

Ever since bursting on the scene as a winner in the 2000 Badminton Asia Junior Championships in both the team and the singles events, Lin Dan has achieved everything that the sport has to offer and completed a Super Grand Slam.

Insatiable hunger for success

His hunger is insatiable but he has to put more effort to keep himself fit, he says.

“China has so many elite level players, just like what you have in India. So as I am old now, I have to really put extra effort to keep myself fit,” Lin Dan said after dismantling Sourabh Verma in the opening round last night.

Training with youngsters

When asked about the secret of his fitness, he said: “I would like to keep it a secret (laughs). It is nothing special. There is no secret. It is all about doing the same things time and time again. It is all about doing the best everyday.

“We have many young players so we can play and train together everyday, so it helped me a lot,” he added.

Aiming for third Olympic gold

In a career spanning 16 years, Lin Dan has won all nine major titles in the badminton world: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships, becoming the first and only player to achieve this feat.

At 32 now, he is still motivated to clinch his third Olympic gold at Rio Games and considers Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei as his fiercest opponent. “I have played against many players but I will always consider Lee Chong Wei as my toughest competitor,” said the five-time world champion.

His popularity transcends borders as is evident from the chants of ‘Lin Dan’ that resonates across the stadium wherever he competes. However, he says badminton needs more promotion to take it to a wider audience like tennis and football.

“It is hard to compete with other sports. Badminton is a sport which when compared with football and Tennis, still needs promotion.”