With the London Games as his final Olympics event, Taufik Hidayat is preparing to close the final curtain on his career.
The former Olympic and world champion announced his official retirement from the national team and will make a few appearances before ending his long and decorated career at the 2013 Indonesia Open in June.
“I’m officially retired from the badminton,” Taufik said on Wednesday, just five days after his 31st birthday. “But I will play in select tournaments as a farewell. I plan to make a memorable farewell celebration in the 2013 Indonesia Open.”
He will play in the Japan Open, French Open and China Open this year, and next year’s Malaysia Open, All England and Indonesia Open.
“I have good memories from these tournaments and I have many friends and fans in China,” Taufik said.
Taking a step out of the spotlight might not be easy and living life after badminton could be harder. But Taufik already has plans for his second act.
He has been helping to prepare the Taufik Hidayat Arena, a sports hall that is scheduled to be finished in the not-too-distant future in Ciracas, Jakarta. He already used one of eight badminton courts at the arena to prepare for the London Games.
“I will put all my effort to raise the THA,” he said. “After Lebaran, we will start to look for young players who have talent and offer them the chance to train in my arena. I want to give back to the sport that has already given me so much.”
Taufik will scout talented players around the country and offer them scholarships and living money. He’s even ready to offer them support to play in tournaments abroad if they are good enough. He will get help from coach Mulyo Handoyo and SGS Elektrik Bandung, his current club.
Taufik has long been considered one of the most controversial shuttlers in Indonesia. His outspoken manner often landed like a slap in the face to Indonesian Badminton Federation officials, but there was little they could do because he constantly proved that he was the best in the country.
“I asked myself, ‘Am I ready to leave the sport that gave me many things?’ ” Taufik said. “Badminton has been in my blood throughout my life. Am I ready to retire? Yes, I am.”