Niall McVeigh of Ireland made an emotional announcement of retiring from Para badminton after walking off with an injury against France’s Fabien Morat, bringing to an end a glittering career that brought him two BWF Para Badminton World Championships titles.
“This is a big decision for me. I’ve actually made the decision a few months ago. This is me retiring from Para badminton,” McVeigh said.
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years now. I just feel that the time is right.”
Thanks for the memories @nellymcveigh and for helping to grow #Parabadminton over the years! All the best in your retirement 👏 @irishbadminton #BWFWorldChampionships #Tokyo2022 pic.twitter.com/hqypVQECPS
— BWF (@bwfmedia) November 2, 2022
McVeigh, who already had endured a long day out on the courts at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on Day 1 of the championships, had to retire from his second men’s singles SH6 clash after dropping the first game 15-21 to Morat.
“It was emotional for me today leaving the court knowing it was my last match,” McVeigh said. “I would have liked to have done better but unfortunately these things happen.
“I was in a lot of pain coming into this tournament and I just felt that I couldn’t continue on. So, it’s a bit sad for me today.”
McVeigh has been battling a troublesome wrist for a few years now and even routine injections to numb the pain proved too much on a packed opening day for the veteran.
“I felt it (pain in the wrist) from yesterday at practice and earlier this morning,” he said. “I played one singles game and then I played doubles. After the doubles this afternoon it was pretty sore.”
McVeigh’s decision means he won’t take any further part in his events; the short stature men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. However, he leaves behind a strong legacy, having won back-to-back men’s singles SH6 world titles in Guatemala City (2011) and Dortmund (2013), which he says are the highlights of his career.
“I’ll always remember them,” McVeigh said.
“I’m still very proud of what I’ve done and achieved over the years and everyone I’ve met who has helped me — family, friends, and everyone in Para badminton.
“It’s been a really good experience for me and I’m proud of everything I’ve done.”
For the moment, McVeigh has his sights set on things outside of badminton.
“I’m actually now a chef. I do a lot of food, mainly pastries. That’s something I want to get into a little bit more.
“I’ll still play a little bit of badminton for my club. I’m more into the cakes and the sweet stuff, they are very tasty.”
McVeigh, 32, was visibly impressed with the new crop of players coming through in Para badminton, especially in his SH6 category, and leaves with the sport having grown immensely since he first began.
“I’d just like to thank every one of you,” McVeigh said. “You have all been supportive and have always been there for me for everything. You all know who you are and I’ll never forget it.”