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BADMINTON/Soon-to-retire Tai Tzu-ying planning round-the-island trip of Taiwan

06/19/2024 08:15 PM
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Badminton player Tzu-ying appears at a commercial event in Taichung on May 18, 2024. CNA file photo
Badminton player Tzu-ying appears at a commercial event in Taichung on May 18, 2024. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 19 (CNA) Taiwan's badminton ace Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) recently mentioned that she would like to enjoy a round-island trip of Taiwan after her retirement.

Tai, who previously announced her plan to retire at the end of 2024, told CNA "there's still a lot of places in Taiwan I haven't visited," adding that she also wants to rest and enjoy life without having to set an alarm.

Turning 30 Thursday, Tai first picked up the badminton racket at 5, began professional training at 9, and made her international debut as a senior at 15, when she was runner-up at the Vietnam Open, a Grand Prix tournament.

Two years later in 2011, she won her first international tournament at the U.S. Open; In 2018, she represented Taiwan (competing under the name Chinese Taipei) at the Asian Games and clinched Taiwan's first-ever Asian Games gold medal in badminton.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was held in 2021 due to COVID-19, she won silver in the women's singles, achieving Taiwan's best result to date in that category.

Tai is also the record holder of the longest world No. 1 in the Badminton World Federation women's ranking, having held that title -- which she achieved in December 2016 -- for 214 weeks.

She is currently world No. 3.

Along with her achievements are injuries, and Tai said that every athlete will eventually experience a decline and she thinks it is maybe time for her to move on to the next chapter of life.

"I still cherish every opportunity to participate in competitions and strive to do my best," she told CNA.

Meanwhile, Liu Chia-cheng (劉佳城), head coach of Taiwan's national badminton team, which will represent Taiwan in the 2024 Paris Olympics, said Wednesday that Tai is recovering well after withdrawing from the 2024 Indonesia Open in early June due to a knee injury.

According to Tai, the Olympics holds the highest and most important place in every athlete's heart. "Of course, I will give my all, but there are many uncontrollable factors in competitions, including [the athlete's] physical condition ... being healthy and in good physical condition is essential."

Liu added that the Taiwan Institute of Sports Science monitors each athlete's condition to ensure that every athlete on the team is in good physical condition for the Olympics and to prevent further injuries before the competition.

He said the team's goal is to get a medal in the men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles.

According to Liu, the Olympics draws are expected to be announced on July 12, and once draws are confirmed, practice and preparation will be in accordance with the draws with simulations based on the matchups conducted.

Taiwan's national badminton team is expected to leave for Paris on July 20 and return on Aug. 6, he said.

(By Li Chien-chung and Bernadette Hsiao)

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