Dutch badminton player Jacco Arends retires from his professional career

Dutch badminton player Jacco Arends retires from his professional career
StudentenlevenStudentenleven

After thinking and contemplating over the last weeks, I have decided to quit my professional badminton career.

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Ever since I was a young boy I have always set high goals for myself. But my ambition has always been insatiable and pushed me further and further. It has helped me in everything I achieved, but it also forces me to take this difficult decision. Over the last period I have gradually lost my believe that I will be capable of and/or given the right opportunities to further develop my game. I believe it's paramount to have the right conviction and perspective, which I simply don't have / see anymore. I have always promised myself that I will not hang around if I'm not able to improve my game any longer. Therefore, I've decided to quit and focus on new challenges.

It certainly hasn't been an easy decision. All I know in my life is being a professional athlete in a sport I love and was – and still am – crazy passionate about. Happily working hard towards specific goals, day in day out. In a way, that made life easy. That's now over and I suspect I will have a tough time adjusting to a new way of life. Besides that, I feel that I haven't reached my full potential as a badminton player. I'm only 28 years old and have a lot of good years still left in me. It is this feeling of being unfulfilled that's bothering me the most.

But that's something I have to come to terms with. I know that eventually I will. Luckily I will still play league matches, which I love to do, for my clubs Vendsyssel Elite Badminton and BC Duinwijck (and maybe some other leagues?). So I will keep playing badminton competitively. Meanwhile, I will figure out what I'll start doing in my new career. I already know I'll be as ambitious as I was as an athlete.

Over the years, countless people have helped and facilitated me to make my dream come true and become a professional badminton player. Without all my sponsors, coaches, partners and teammates I would have never made it to the Olympics in 2016, and I want to extend my deepest gratitude to all of them.

I would also like to single out and mention a few people individually. Starting with my whole family and girlfriend Eline Lubbers, but in particular my dad. He has meant a lot more for me than he thinks. He drove me all over the country and Europe when I was a young and aspiring badminton player. He was always very creative in finding new challenges for me, without trying to force anything. For a large part his mentoring shaped and made me the man I am today. We have made a lot of nice memories together and I feel blessed to have done that with my dad.

Another big influence on my career has been Chris Bruil. First as a coach, then as a private coach, in the end as a mentor and friend, he has always been close to my heart. Ever since we met we had a great connection. At the time I was a junior player and wanted to make the jump to the pro circuit. Through Chris his guidance and experience I have been able to do that. Even though he was highly critical of me, I could feel that he - more than anyone else - always believed in me. With this mentality he kept pushing and inspiring me. For that I will always be grateful.

With my mate Jelle Maas I have been playing and practicing since we were around thirteen years old. We were always helping and pushing each other. Together, we have come through all national team selections and shared countless hotel rooms. His work-rate and ability to always look at yourself has inspired me throughout my career. If I wouldn't have had him by my side I would have never came to where I am today. He is currently fighting to make it to the Olympics in 2020, and he is doing amazing. Best of luck and thanks for everything, my friend!

All of this also means that my partnership with Ruben Jille has come to an end. I wish we could have ended it on a high, but I am sure you guys will see him flying over the court soon again. Ruben, thanks buddy for the last three years and good luck in the future!

Jacco Arends

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