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China's Lin Dan aiming for third Olympic gold in badminton


08-04-2016 16:10 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

Now many people believe badminton is a sport for young athletes due to its speed and the fast reactions required to excel in it. Shuttlers typically start to fade after they hit 30, but in today's game, there is an exception, Lin Dan. The Chinese has two Olympic gold medals to go along with multiple Grand Slam titles and instead of retiring when he reached his third decade, Super Dan kept going and is now chasing further glory in Rio.

Off the court Lin Dan is a fashion ICON. On it, he isn't too bad either, wining a world championship aged 30 and after being crowned the Asian game champ 2 years ago, he's ready for his 4th Olympics at 33.

"On my wechat moments people kept posting 'wow he is still playing?' 'for real'?" said Lin Dan, "I feel proud about these comments because in people's eyes I have done enough to earn my retirement. But I want make more history, more records and try to push further at my age.I think I'm likely to win it again."

Fans like to call him "Super-Dan", but for him the meaning of the word "super" has involved from the "super" talent and "super" gifted to now "super" hard on training and put in a "super" amount of effort.

"I train every day now, different excise each day. I hit it hard at noon and get more rest in the morning. I like tanning by body now and after sessions all I do is relax at the pool because that is the most important part. I like to tan and keep my skin darker. I have been used to this tone since 2011 and I cant bare to watch match footage when I still had white skin," said Lin.

The knee injury would be the hardest one to deal with in Lin's career and many doubted he could recover back to where he use to be. In March 2016 in Birmingham, England, Lin regained his all England title, giving him his 6th win at the event.

Another win followed at the German Open before he being crowned China Masters champ for a 6th time in Jiangsu. Lin's response to all those who doubted him was to get to the Rio Olympics ranked world number 3.

"I am way more mature than before, I can accept losing now. I've been through 3 Olympics so far. From being someone nobody had ever heard about, to people thinking of me as a rebel, to the heavy scrutiny on me during my early days in 2004. I sucked it all up and went on to win both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. I did nothing different from than before so I'm always giving my best efforts.

Lin will not be alone in Rio this time as his old friend rival Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia will be in Rio for his 4th Olympic also for his last time at the global show-piece. Like always Li is hoping he can win the gold he kept losing to Lin in the past. And deep down he knows its the competition between the pair that has kept him on his feet.

"to be honest with you the only thing that has been keeping me driven is -- Lee Chong Wei. I have way more than he does, but he is still the most dangerous and strongest opponent out there. He is close to my age and he is still pushing himself to the limit. He wants this gold more than anyone else and that ambition shows on the court. I respect him and for me to go further in Rio, I need to learn from him," Lin said.

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