Chinese Olympic Badminton Champion Gong Zhichao Retires

China's badminton Olympic champion Gong Zhichao has retired and left the national team, Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese national badminton team, has confirmed her retirement on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Olympic gold-medalist had said she was feeling really exhausted after winning the women's singles title at the 9th National Games last November in Guangzhou. She later expressed his desire to quit the national team for a good rest andpursuing academic degrees.

"As Gong is an Olympic champion, her case is up to (China's national sports governing body) the State General Administration of Sports to decide," Li explained.

After consulting with the national team, the national sports administration has now given the green light to Gong's request.

But, according to the rules of the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA), the country's male players under the age of 29 and female players under 27 are not allowed to play abroad and represent other countries or regions in international events. Gong had expressed to willingly obey these rules, Li said.

The national team has turned down similar request raised by Gong's veteran teammates Dai Yun and Luo Yigang after the nationalgames. They had been asked to stay on with the national team, forthe upcoming Thomas Cup and Uber Cup tournaments this May in Guangzhou, south China, and the 14th Asian Games later this year in Pusan, South Korea.

Gong's retirement would inevitably affect China's preparation for the Uber Cup in a short period of time but not the overall capability and its determination to defend the trophy, Li said. Such players as up-and-coming player and world number one Zhou Mi,veteran player Zhang Ning and new blood and world No. 3 Gong Ruinaare capable to take over the job for the Uber Cup campaign, Li added.

People's Daily Online ---