Saturday March 23, 2013
Chunlai is set to retire for good at end of the year
SURABAYA: Former world No. 2 Bao Chunlai admits that he misses playing badminton regularly but is definitely going to retire for good at the end of the year.
The 30-year-old Chunlai was one of the most talented players from China in the last decade, hailing from the same generation as Lin Dan.
He was a member of China’s victorious Thomas Cup team four times, from 2004-2010, and was also a silver medallist in the 2006 World Championship.
But injuries plagued the talented left-hander and who subsequently retired in 2011 after missing out on a spot in the world meet.
Chunlai, however, continued to play part-time, in the China Badminton League, in the doubles with Zheng Bo and is part of the Asia All Stars team in the ongoing US$1mil Axiata Cup.
“To be honest, I actually do miss playing for the China national team and competing in tournaments,” said Chunlai.
“That was one of the best times in my career and I quite enjoyed it, especially the environment. Playing in the Axiata Cup reminds me of what I used to enjoy.
“However, I’m not going to return to active badminton anymore. Now I’m just semi-retired and I still play a little in the China Badminton League.
“Once this year is over, I’m definitely retiring for good. It’s finally time for the next part of my life. Perhaps a little singing and acting,” added the boyish-looking shuttler.
Chunlai, who has scores of fans with his good looks, believes that having an Asia All Star team is a really interesting concept.
“It’s really interesting how the organisers managed to have such an idea and invited a few of us, all from different countries to play as a team,” he said.
“The whole idea of uniting players from different backgrounds is quite meaningful and I enjoy being in the team. I also enjoyed playing doubles with Tarun (Kona), even though we could barely communicate with one another.”
Communication was certainly no barrier for Chunlai-Kona, who did enough to beat the Philippines’ Phillip Joper Escueta-Ronel Estanislao 21-17, 23-21 yesterday.
Asia All Stars were also on song as they rebounded from an opening day 3-1 defeat to Thailand by whipping the Filipinos 4-0.