Badminton rode Lin Dan’s popularity and charisma, say top Indian shuttlers

While Parupalli Kashyap played Lin Dan thrice in his career, HS Prannoy faced the Chinese Olympic and world champion on five occasions.

By Subhayan Dutta

Ace Indian shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy heaped praise on Chinese badminton legend Lin Dan after the former world No. 1 announced his retirement on Saturday.

The two-time Olympic and five-time world champion won a whopping 666 singles matches and a plethora of medals in a career that spanned 20 years.

Hailing the six-time All England Open champion as the “best ever”, Parupalli Kashyap said Lin Dan was one of the greatest ambassadors of the game.

“He is an iconic player and one of the reasons why badminton is popular worldwide,” Parupalli Kashyap told the Olympic Channel.

“For me, he has been the best player ever considering his achievements,” he added.

Kashyap played Lin Dan thrice in his career – at the 2011 Sudirman Cup, the Hong Kong Open the same year and at the 2019 Australian Open – with the Chinese winning on all occasions.

Results notwithstanding, for Kashyap, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lin Dan was an inspiration.

“He is a class act because of the way he carried himself during a match and the way he played. He may be the best-ever,” Parupalli Kashyap said.

“He was my sporting idol. I got encouraged by his results and wanted to play like him,” he added.

Lin Dan’s aura unmatched

Nicknamed ‘Super Dan’, Lin Dan always carried a sense of self-belief with himself that was evident to his opponents as well as to his fans worldwide.

Indian shuttler HS Prannoy, who faced Lin Dan five times and won thrice, admits that the Chinese legend’s attitude always bowled him over.

“Lin Dan had an aura when he used to come to the court, which was totally different. No one else had that,” HS Prannoy told Olympic Channel.

“He believed that he was the best in the world, and one could make that out from his face. I have been a big fan of him for that.”

Apart from his mammoth achievements, Lin Dan also impressed one and all with his longevity in a physically demanding sport like badminton.

Making his debut on the senior professional circuit in 2001 at the Asian Badminton Championships, Lin Dan has outplayed most of his contemporaries in terms of an extended career. 

HS Prannoy believes it was only possible for Lin Dan’s love of the game.

“I think he has not missed a tournament in a calendar year. I think he has won it all and the majors twice,” the Indian shuttler said.

“To do something like that, you need to have extra dedication. Lin Dan used to love the sport that much, which pushed him so far.

“He always wanted to come and compete against the best and wanted to give his best,” he added.