LONDON — Taufik Hidayat, the former Olympic champion who is one of badminton's big four, could have an earlier than expected end to his famous career at the 2012 Games.
The Indonesian who took the men's singles gold medal in Athens eight years ago may also be ousted by the man who has been described as his arch-rival, Lin Dan, the defending Olympic champion from China.
Lin is regarded by many people as the greatest player of all time, and if the elastic left-hander lives up to that billing it could well bring curtains for Hidayat as early as Wednesday week (August 1st).
These two greats are drawn in adjoining groups and would meet in the last 16 if, as expected, Lin beats Scott Evans, the world number 76 from Ireland, and Hidayat overcomes Pablo Abian, the world number 34 from Spain, and Petr Koukal, the world number 78 from the Czech Republic.
This spectacular denouement though depends on the sometimes controversial 30-year-old from West Java adhering to his feeling that these Olympics are a suitable climax for calling it a day.