DAITO, Osaka Pref. – Kumiko Ogura, one-half of the “Ogu-Shio” doubles pair who became pin-ups after popularizing badminton in Japan, called time on her career Tuesday, citing a lingering stomach ailment as her main reason for leaving the sport.
The 26-year-old Ogura has been suffering from chronic gastritis for the past year.
“I have been bothered by chronic gastritis in the past year. I have made repeated efforts to make a comeback to no avail. I am just tired of trying,” Ogura said.
Ogura partnered Reiko Shiota to five consecutive doubles titles at the national championships. The pair won the bronze medal at the 2007 world championships and finished fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games.
But Ogura and Shiota parted ways after the 2008 national championships.
Earlier the same day, one source said that in addition to her chronic ailments, Ogura has been fraught with the psychological stress of losing her place on the national team and being unable to find a new partner since her split with Shiota.
“I am satisfied that I was able to enjoy my badminton career. I have no regrets. I appreciate all of the wonderful encouragement I received from my fans.”
Ogura, who did not play at all in 2009 due to her illness, said she had not yet spoken to Shiota about her decision to quit.
“I haven’t spoken to her yet but without her I know I would never have made it this far. I wish her all the best as she aims for the Olympics in London.”
Shiota teamed up with Shintaro Ikeda in mixed doubles after parting ways with Ogura.