When Do Badminton Players Retire? A Data Driven Answer

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Throughout the years, we have seen many badminton greats, and even legends, come and go. It is always refreshing and awe-inspiring when a young new player bursts into the professional badminton scene and takes out big names, such as the young and promising An Se Young of South Korea. When such talent comes around, they always end up teaching us something new about badminton and they push the boundaries of what is possible. Even with such skill, agility, and youth, their time as professional athletes doesn’t last forever. Players inevitably must retire, even though there is no official age limit in international tournaments. While we would love to see these players in top form and duke it out for eternity, even top players’ bodies weaken physically over time, making them gradually slower, less powerful, and have lower stamina. Most of us have a general sense of this but probably never looked more into it. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The average professional badminton player retires at 30.5 years old across all disciplines. The average female professional badminton player retires at 28.3 years old, and the average male professional badminton player retires at 32.8 years old.

Obviously, not all players will retire at the same age and their timelines will vary for different reasons such as changing priorities, injuries, or burnout – so take these numbers with a grain of salt. Overall, when a player retires ultimately depends on the individuals themselves due to different circumstances, but we used a data driven approach to find out when most elite badminton players retire. While we would like to get the retirement age for every professional badminton player ever, that would take far too much time. Instead, we took a subset of data by defining professionals as all the gold medalist winners from the All England Championships from 2000 to the present day (2021) who have retired and found out when they retired or played their last major BWF badminton tournament. This is what we found:

Category vs Retirement AgeAverageMedianStandard DeviationSample Size
Women’s Singles28.2282.99
Women’s Doubles27.927.52.720
Men’s Singles31.931.53.38
Men’s Doubles33.7353.717

As we can see from the disciplines, women’s doubles players retire the earliest on average at 27.9 years old while men’s doubles players retire the latest on average at 33.7 years old. Another interesting find we see is that women tend to retire 4.5 years earlier than men do on average. Just a quick glance at our overall dataset (at the bottom of the post) shows that the youngest 7 players to retire were all female while the oldest 13 players to retire were all male!

Whatever you make of these results, we’ll give you the rest of the data to let you play around with it. If you like this sort of material or want more data points and insights, let us know in the comments below! And if you would like to receive alerts when we publish new posts, subscribe to us by clicking the bell icon.

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Women’s Singles

PlayerRetirement AgeYear Retired
Ruina Gong242016
Zhichao Gong252013
Wang Shixian262019
Li Xue Rui282016
Wang Yihan282009
Xingfang Xie282005
Camilla Martin302010
Mi Zhou312004
Tine Baun342002

Women’s Doubles

PlayerRetirement AgeYear Retired
Tang Yuanting222016
Bao Yixin252017
Jun Gu252000
Sui Huang252007
Fei Ge262001
Xiaoli Wang262015
Jing Du272011
Tingting Zhao272009
Yawen Zhang272010
Yili Wei272009
Misaki Matsutomo282020
Ayaka Takahashi292020
Lee Hyo Jung292010
Lee Kyung Won302010
Ling Gao302009
Qing Tian302016
Yang Yu302016
Yunlei Zhao302016
Christinna Pedersen312019
Kamilla Rytter Juhl342019

Men’s Singles

PlayerRetirement AgeYear Retired
Chen Jin272013
Xuanze Xia282006
Chen Hong302009
Taufik Hidayat312018
Pullela Gopichand322005
Muhammad Hafiz Hashim352017
Lee Chong Wei362018
Lin Dan362020

Men’s Doubles

PlayerRetirement AgeYear Retired
Qiu Zihan282016
Halim Heryanto282004
Liu Xiaolong292017
Ha Tae-kwon302005
Kim Dong-moon302005
Fu Haifeng332017
Jung Jae-sung342016
Lars Paaske342010
Cai Yun352015
Jonas Rasmussen352012
Sigit Budiarto352010
Carsten Mogensen362020
Martin Lundgaard Hansen362008
Candra Wijaya372012
Tony Gunawan372012
Jens Eriksen392008
Mathais Boe392020

Mixed Doubles

PlayerRetirement AgeYear Retired
He Hanbin262012
Ma Jin282016
Ra Kyung-min292005
Kim Dong-moon302005
Ling Gao302009
Yang Yu302016
Yunlei Zhao302016
Zhang Jun302007
Zheng Bo302013
Gail Emms312008
Tontowi Ahmad332020
Xu Chen332017
Liliyana Natsir342019
Nathan Robertson362013


PlayerRetirement AgeYear RetiredDiscipline
Tang Yuanting222016WD
Ruina Gong242016WS
Bao Yixin252017WD
Jun Gu252000WD
Sui Huang252007WD
Zhichao Gong252013WS
Fei Ge262001WD
He Hanbin262012XD
Qiu Zihan262016MD
Wang Shixian262019WS
Xiaoli Wang262015WD
Chen Jin272013MS
Jing Du272011WD
Tingting Zhao27209WD
Yawen Zhang272010WD
Yili Wei272009WD
Halim Heryanto282004MD
Li Xuerui282016WS
Ma Jin282016XD
Misaki Matsutomo282020WD
Wang Yihan282009WS
Xuanze Xia282006MS
Xingfang Xie282005WS
Ayaka Takahashi292020WD
Lee Hyo-jung292010WD
Liu Xiaolong292017MD
Ra Kyung-min292005XD
Camilla Martin302010WS
Chen Hong302009MS
Ha Tae-kwon302005MD
Kim Dong-moon302005XD, MD
Lee Kyung-won302010WD
Ling Gao302009XD, WD
Qing Tian302016WD
Yang Yu302016XD, WD
Yunlei Zhao302016XD, WD
Zhang Jun302007XD
Zheng Bo302013XD
Christinna Pedersen312019WD
Gail Emms312008XD
Mi Zhou312004WS
Taufik Hidayat312018MS
Pullela Gopichand322005MS
Fu Haifeng332017MD
Tontowi Ahmad332020XD
Xu Chen332017XD
Jung Jae-sung342016MD
Kamilla Rytter Juhl342019WD
Lars Paaske342010MD
Liliyana Natsir342019XD
Tine Baun342002WS
Cai Yun352015MD
Jonas Rasmussen352012MD
Muhammad Hafiz Hashim352017MS
Sigit Budiarto352010MD
Carsten Mogensen362020MD
Lee Chong Wei362018MS
Lin Dan362020MS
Martin Lundgaard Hansen362008MD
Nathan Robertson362013XD
Candra Wijaya372012MD
Tony Gunawan372012MD
Jens Eriksen392008MD
Mathias Boe392020MD

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