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October 18, 2019

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Ex-Olympic champion Li retires

Former Olympic gold medalist Li Xuerui has announced her retirement from international tournaments, the Badminton World Federation revealed yesterday.

In an article published on its website, the BWF praised Li, 28, as one of the “most dominant players of her time” before a major injury at the Rio Olympics in 2016 disrupted her career.

Li’s first major success came at the 2010 Asia Championships as a 19-year-old. She continued to enjoy a meteoric rise and soon was a favorite at most top-tier events.

Li’s first BWF Superseries title was won at the 2012 All England tournament. The biggest moment of her career came later that year when she won gold in the women’s singles at the London Olympics.

Li was ranked world No. 1 between 2013 and 2015.

She returned to the Olympic Games as one of the top contenders at Rio 2016, but collapsed to the floor during her semifinal against Carolina Marin of Spain. Her injury, diagnosed as an anterior cruciate ligament rupture, kept her out for over a year.

Li made a moderately successful return, winning her first comeback event — the Lingshui China Masters — in April 2018. She proceeded to complete a hat-trick of titles, winning the US Open and the Canada Open but struggled to reclaim her top form.

Her last event was the recent Korea Open in September, when she retired from her first-round match against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi. She was ranked 20th in the BWF’s latest world rankings.


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