Sri Lanka’s top shuttler Niluka Karunaratne has drawn up his “retirement plans” well in advance after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he quits his badminton playing days.
He will not only end his bachelor days after the Tokyo Olympics but will also embark on a new career path…not as a badminton coach as many might think would be the obvious choice for 15-time Sri Lanka national champion – but instead into the lucrative gems business.
“Frankly, I don’t like coaching. It will be a totally new career after I quit playing badminton. I will go into partnership with two others to mine gems…Sri Lanka is well known for gems and there is good money in this business,” said Niluka.
The 32-year-old, who is in Wuhan for the 2017 Wuhan, City of Automobile Badminton Asia Championships and played in the 2012 London Olympics and Rio Olympics last year, wants another crack at the Olympics and hopes to earn his ticket to Tokyo.
Before that Niluka, ranked No 67 in the latest BWF ranking list, has another mission – to make it to this year’s World Championships in Glasgow in August.
The year 2018 will also be a busy year for the lanky Sri Lankan who has also set his sights on next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April and the Asian Games in Indonesia (Jakarta and Palembang) in August.
Wedding bells are also in the pipeline for the lanky shuttler, who stands at 1.72m tall but will “take time” before deciding on who the lucky girl will be as he has three ‘candidates’ on his list.
Two are Sri Lankan with one residing in Sri Lanka and another who resides in Australia. The third is a German lass who currently in Germany.
“I have not decided on who will be my life partner…but for sure I will get married after the Tokyo Olympics when I end my badminton career,” said Niluka, who failed to go past the first round in the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan.
He fell to a 19-21, 16-21 defeat to Taiwan’s world No 7 and seventh seeded Chou Tien Chen in a 67-minute match.