Takahashi will be most remembered for winning the Olympic gold in Rio 2016, but she also had numerous other accomplishments to her credit. These included the Uber Cup triumph in 2018, a World Championships bronze, two Badminton Asia Championships crowns, and an All England title.
At a press conference conducted by her employer Nihon Unisys, Takahashi said she decided to retire as she could not keep her motivation high for another year, until the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
“After the announcement of the postponement of Tokyo 2020, I thought I could not keep my motivation high enough to go through another tough year. I thought about continuing to play till the end of the Olympic qualification period as well, but I followed my will and decided to finally end my badminton career.”
Takahashi and Matsutomo are currently ranked No.7. Their last tournament appearance was at the All England in March, where they beat familiar rivals Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan on their way to the semifinals.
“I have no regrets about this decision. In the quarterfinals of the All England, we were to meet the world No. 1 Chinese pair (Chen/Jia). I thought it could be the last match for me as we were not sure at that time whether the Olympic qualifying race would continue. That is why I wanted to play my very best against the strong Chinese, and we managed to beat them. I am proud of my achievements and satisfied with the good results.”
Her partner Matsutomo, who will continue to play mixed doubles with current partner Yuki Kaneko, paid rich tribute to Takahashi.
“I’m sure I couldn’t have achieved such good results without her, including the gold medal at Rio. I thank her so much, much more than words can express,” said Matsutomo.
Note: Players’ retirements are considered official only when they submit their retirement forms to BWF.