Badminton: Taufik to retire after next week's Indonesia Open

JAKARTA (AFP) - Former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat confirmed on Friday that he would retire after next week's Indonesia Open Super Series tournament, but was tight-lipped about his plans for the future.

One of Indonesia's best-known sportsmen will bring the curtain down on a brilliant and sometimes controversial career during which he won the Olympic gold in Athens in 2004 and was also crowned world champion a year later.

"I will remain focused on helping develop badminton, but the details are still secret," the 31-year-old told AFP when asked about his retirement plans.

He joked that details of a farewell party to be thrown for him at the end of the tournament were also a secret. "It's not a surprise any more if I tell you now," he said.

The Indonesia Open, taking place in Jakarta from Monday to Sunday, will be the last chance spectators have to see Taufik's legendary attack, which is particularly effective at the net, in a professional competition.

But the player from West Java province has also had his fair share of controversies.

He once separated from the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) and based himself in Singapore, and on another occasion was ordered off the courts by security staff after a stand-off with officials at the SEA Games in Thailand.

Taufik had been likely to face Lin Dan, often described as his arch-rival, in the first round of the Indonesia Open but organisers said on Friday the Chinese shuttler had pulled out.

Lin will not take part in the Indonesia Open or the Singapore Open, which runs from June 18 to 23, according to PBSI official Basri Yusuf.

"We weren't given any reason for his withdrawal," said the official, adding that it was unclear who Taufik would now face in the first round, which will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Others playing in next week's event include Malaysia's world No.1 Lee Chong Wei and China's world No.2 Chen Long.