Takeshi Kamura, Keigo Sonoda and Hiroyuki Endo have retired as players from the Japanese national team, reports Japanese website Jiji.com.
While Endo will take full retirement from badminton, it is learnt that Kamura and Sonoda might continue to be active in the international circuit.
Endo is 34, while Kamura and Sonoda are 31 years of age.
“Thank you for your hard work as a national representative! You stayed as an A team member for 13 years. You piled up the endurance day by day. I guess you could do it because you hate to lose. I know you have been going through a lot of things, but you are amazing!” wrote Endo’s wife on twitter.
During his career, Endo won the bronze at the 2015 World Championships with his former partner Kenichi Hayakawa. He was also part of the Japanese team that won the Thomas Cup in 2014.
More recently, he won the All England title in 2020 and 2021 with partner Yuta Watanabe.
Endo will serve as a coach in the future.
Kamura congratulated Endo on his retirement by saying, “Japanese legend Endo-san, thank you very much for your hard work!!! I tried my best to follow Mr. Endo’s back, but it was a huge wall (referring to Endo’s defensive abilities).
“It was an honour to have fought against you in the final of the All England… Thank you very much.”
Sonoda also made a post on his social media regarding his retirement from the national team.
He wrote, “Taking advantage of the successful end of the Olympics, I have ceased to be a representative of Japan… I have been working hard as a representative of Japan for over 10 years. Thank you very much for such a long time.”
“(I am) aiming for the Paris Olympics, which can still be done! I want to see more success! I received a lot of messages from fans asking what will happen with me now, I look forward to your support,” he added.