The decision to hang up her gum soles had been made well in advance. Badminton had given her enough, and for Tine Baun, it’s time to focus on family, and education - a course in health and nutrition to be precise.
School’s out, at least for now. Barely five months after retiring on a high, the Danish player has landed in the Indian Badminton League. “It’s only three weeks back that I got to know I’m playing this,” said the former world No 1 while here for the first leg.
Baun admitted she had “not been playing for some time” when she was bought for her base price of $30,000 by the Mumbai Masters. “I’m retired now, so badminton is not my main focus at all,” she said. Two losses to start with, one in straight games, showed how rusty her game is.
The other big name to come out of retirement, Taufik Hidayat, spent the first tie on the sidelines, helping Saina Nehwal keep her cool during her match against PV Sindhu. In Hyderabad’s second tie, the Indonesian lost to Delhi’s Malaysian rival Daren Liew.
The IBL is not an isolated case of players coming to India past their prime. The IPL helped quite a few cricketers extend careers after their international retirements - Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist spring to mind.
Priorities also differ. Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke opted not to risk their injured bodies ahead of the Ashes and withdrew from this year’s IPL. Same is the case with the international shuttlers here. While it’s lack of match practice for Baun and Hidayat, the active players can’t be blamed if they don’t go all out as seven Super Series legs are lined up in the next four months.
The league’s start, just two days after the World Championships, hasn’t helped. Players have withdrawn due to injury (Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki) showed up late (Lee Chong Wei) or experienced starting trouble, be it sitting out the opener (Malaysia’s Wei Feng Chong) or losing it (Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen).