Two-time Oceania mixed doubles champion and recent Tokyo 2020 Olympian, Simon Leung, has announced his retirement from international badminton in an emotional Instagram post.
Simon stormed onto the Oceania Championships scene in 2016 when he took bronze in the men’s and mixed doubles. Only three years later, he took his first continental gold medal in the mixed doubles alongside Gronya Somerville, which they successfully defended in 2020.
The pair also reached the final of the YONEX Waikato International 2019, where they eventually took home the silver medal. Other achievements for Simon include:
- Oceania Championships Men’s Doubles bronze medalist in 2017 and 2018 with Mitchell Wheller
- Oceania Championships Men’s Doubles silver medalist in 2019 with Mitchell Wheller
- YONEX North Harbour International 2019 silver medalist with Mitchell Wheller
- 2019 Oceania Mixed Team Championships Gold medalist
- 2020 Oceania Men’s Team Championships Gold medalist
Earlier this year, he also reached his lifetime ambition of becoming an Olympian, where he qualified for the mixed doubles draw alongside Gronya Somerville. The pair were place in a tough Group C, competing against Denmark’s Christiansen/Boje, Japan’s Watanabae/Higashino and Indonesia’s Oktavianti/Jordan. The Australian duo turned heads early on as they had the Indonesians on their toes after taking them to a third game. Talking of his favourite moments which could have caused a major tournament upset, Simon said:
“There were for sure a few favourite moments across the three matches – I can narrow it down to two. One that I have in mind is being down 20-14 in the first set against Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti (Indonesia) and coming back to win 22-20, followed by a 17-14 lead in the second. That was for sure a huge surprise for us and everyone. My other favourite memory would be the racket change Gronya did in our match against Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino (Japan), where we went on to win that rally. I’ve done it a few times before in my matches but to do it at the Olympics, is not easy since the pressure and level of badminton is so present”
Describing the Olympic experiences as “one for the books” and after eight years on the international badminton circuit, Simon has decided to “call it time” on his playing career:
Didn’t expect to be doing a post like this so early. But…. I have made up my mind and decided to call it time on the competitive badminton scene. it’s been a long 8 years. So many memories have been made, so many things learnt, so many fun experiences, meeting new people. It’s been hella of a journey. However, this was the best decision for me right now.
Greatest achievement in my career has definitely been Qualifying and making it to the Olympics last year in Tokyo. Such an experience, great matches, fell short of wins but it was the experience and learning that was so key. Nevertheless, it’s the olympics and it’s not an easy task to even be there competing, so really great fun and thankful for this experience and opportunity.
Lastly, I would like to thanks everyone who has been a part of my journey. To badminton Australia , thanks for all the opportunities you have given me as a junior up till now. You guys have been amazing. To all the coaches that have helped me along the way, all of you have played such a key role and made me the player I am today, without you guys I couldn’t have done it. To all the sponsors That have helped me financially or equipment, without you guys my dream of being at Olympics would never have achieved. To all my family and relatives, thanks so much for all the support you have given me throughout these years, especially during Olympic years. It’s been a tough journey for not only myself but for you guys – thank you.
To all my friends from work, uni, baddie, thanks so much for your endless support. It means the world to me knowing I have a group of mates who are there cheering me on day and night. These little things, I do feel it everytime I’m on court. My rly close ones to me… thank you for being there during the times I needed. What you have done for me is something I’ll never forget. The on/off court support, encouragement, care, love has been felt. The little things that matter the most!
Once again, thanks everyone for a great journey. Love you all, and I’ll see you around!
Much love! 💚💛
Badminton Oceania wishes Simon all the best with his future endeavors.