Li Yongbo (L) and his players during a victory ceremony. (Photo : Getty Images)
Li Yongbo is stepping down as head coach after leading China's national badminton team to six Olympic Games and winning eight Olympic gold medals and numerous international tournaments.
Yongbo served as head coach for 24 years when China secure their position as the most successful country in badminton.
Sadly, China had a sub-par performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics where they won only two gold medals--the country's lowest badminton haul since 2000--that prompted fans to ask for Yongbo's retirement.
Yongbo admitted that he felt tired after so many years as badminton head coach and would want to step back and give the younger generation the opportunity to lead the team. He will be reassigned to an advisory panel with the Chinese Olympic Committee.
The Chinese national badminton team remained mum on the development and did not respond to requests for confirmation.
Yongbo is known for his "progressive winner-take-all mindset" and for being outspoken that placed him constantly in hot water throughout his career.
While most fans most welcomed the news of Yongbo's retirement on social media, many also paid tribute to him.
According to one fan, while many are focused on the negative aspects, it could not be denied that the country's success in badminton would not have happened without this great coach.
The Chinese badminton team, which suffered their worst tournament outcome in two decades at the All-England in Birmingham last month, is experiencing a transition with former champions like Fu Haifeng and Lin Dan set to retire.
Lin Dan, touted as the greatest badminton player of all time, lost his All England title last month to fellow Chinese, Shi Yuqi. In the Rio Olympic, he lost to Malaysian world number one Lee Chong Wei that kept him from winning a third Olympic gold medal. He is also five-time world champion and has been crowned All England champion for six times.
Fu Haifeng, one of the greatest men's doubles players, won the gold in the Rio and the 2012 London Olympics, on top of being a 4-time world champion.
At the 2017 All-England, China captured only the mixed doubles title through Lu Kai and Juang Yaqiong.