Exclusive: No need for Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei to retire any time soon says Pullela Gopichand

Gopichand tells IBTimes Singapore that Lin and Chong Wei continuing will only help budding shuttlers.

Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan
File photo of Lee Chong Wei (L) and Lin Dan (R) Reuters

Former All England Open Badminton champion Pullela Gopichand believes that Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei can continue playing and that it will only have a positive effect to the sport in their respective countries.

Both Lin and Chong Wei are in the twilight of their careers and a lot is being speculated about the futures of the two champion shuttlers. While it remains to be seen if the two legends will continue till the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the duo have shown the world they are still the ones to beat by winning major titles in the ongoing season.

"They are great ambassadors of the sport. People love to watch them. I think the champion shuttlers should stay longer so that so many of us can learn so many things from them," Gopichand, who is now India's badminton chief coach, told International Business Times Singapore.

"If there is no dearth of resources, it would be ideal to keep them and also invest in younger players. I do not think there is any lack of resources to that extent that they cannot fund one extra player in both China and Malaysia."

Notably, Chong Wei had a tough time towards the end of the last season as he faced quite a few setbacks after he settled for a third Olympic silver at last year's Rio Games. He won the Japan Open after returning from Rio de Janeiro but suffered a quarter-final exit in Denmark before pulling out of French Open with an injury.

Also, the 34-year-old suffered a knee injury at the start of 2017 season, which even forced Badminton Association of Malaysia technical director to doubt the champion shuttler's ability to recover. However, Chong Wei battled against odds to get back on court sooner than expected and went on to win a fourth All England title earlier in March. The Malaysian then revealed he will be back in Birmingham to defend his crown next year.

On the other hand, two-time Olympic champion Lin did not feature in any tournament last year after his disappointing Rio Olympic campaign. But the 33-year-old Chinese legend came back stronger in 2017 and won his maiden Malaysia Open crown by beating arch-rival Chong Wei in the final.