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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019

'I don't have the same desire as before': Three-time Irish Olympian Scott Evans to retire

The 30-year-old made history in Rio, but will now bow out after next week’s Team European Championships.

Evans finished ninth in Rio.
Evans finished ninth in Rio.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THREE-TIME IRISH Olympian Scott Evans has today announced his decision to retire from international badminton after next week’s European Team Championships in Russia.

The 30-year-old had previously said he was not ruling out competing in Tokyo 2020, but Ireland’s most successful-ever badminton player will bow out of the international game later this month.

Evans, educated at Wesley College, left family and friends to pursue his ambition of becoming a professional by moving to the European hub of badminton in Copenhagen, where he has lived and trained for the last 14 years.

In Beijing 2008, Evans became the first Irishman to qualify for the Olympics and he would go on to represent Ireland at the 2012 and 2016 Games, while also winning the 2012 Irish Open.

Evans made further history in Rio when he became the first Irishman to win at badminton match at the Games, beating the highly-regarded German Marc Zwiebler in the last set.

Victory guaranteed him a spot in the last 16, making him the first ever Irish badminton player to advance to the business end of the tournament and he finished in a historic ninth place overall.

“The time is the right to retire after 14 years of full-time training and full-time participation on the world tour,” he said in a statement.

Scott Evans Evans in action in Beijing 2008. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“I know what it takes to be a professional athlete every single day and what I need to do to be at my best and I don’t have the same desire as before. This hasn’t been an easy decision, but I feel it is the right one. Having the opportunity to finish my career while representing my country will be the best way to end this chapter.”

Evans added: “I am very grateful to Badminton Ireland, Sport Ireland, The Olympic Council of Ireland and Hegarty Financial Management for giving me the opportunities to live my dream and be a professional badminton player for 14 years. Without their support my journey wouldn’t have been possible.”

“I would like to sincerely thank my parents and brother who have been through the highest highs and when I have hit rock bottom. I would also like to thank Jim Laugesen who took me on at 17 years of age and still helps me to this day and to Camille, for all her support.

“I am really passionate about the sport of Badminton and I have started to work on an exciting new collaborative project, the details of which will announced in coming months.”

Ronan Rooney, Chairperson of Badminton Ireland, said: “As Scott Evans announces his retirement from badminton, on behalf of everyone in Badminton Ireland I want to congratulate him and say a huge Thank You.

“As a fan, and a Board member, I, like many others, have enjoyed watching Scott’s career develop and go from strength to strength over many years. A career that has been populated with many memorable highlights, including numerous Irish Caps, an Irish Open Title, several International Open Titles, multiple Irish National Titles, a world ranking of 23, and three Olympic Games — reaching the last 16 in Rio, which culminated in the now famous, and viral Full Evans.

“Scott has been a long-serving ambassador for Irish badminton, inspiring others to follow the path that he has paved. His success has in no small way contributed to the popularity and growth of badminton amongst our younger players, some of whom will continue to represent us on the European and world stages.

“He has done himself, his family and his country proud, brought much enjoyment and excitement to those of us back home, and set a very high bar for the aspiring stars of tomorrow to follow. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

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