Olympic badminton gold medalist Ayaka Takahashi retires due to lack of fire

Elwanda Tulloch

Ayaka Takahashi said Wednesday that she lacks the fire to try and defend her Olympic women’s doubles championship at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics and will retire at the end of this month.

While the vast majority of Olympic hopefuls are continuing on for the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed until 2021, Takahashi, a gold medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, decided that she will not.

“I had doubts about my mind and body getting through another year,” Takahashi said in an online news conference where she was joined by her playing partner Misaki Matsutomo.

“When I shared my honest feelings with my partner Matsutomo and (my employer) Nihon Unisys they respected my decision. My parents were understanding as well, and telling them was a big weight off my shoulders,” she said.

The 30-year-old Takahashi and 28-year-old Matsutomo, with the pair nicknamed “Takamatsu,” claimed Japan’s first Olympic badminton

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