You can see Michelle Li on the court docket this week in Calgary. Next summer season, you could see Canada’s badminton ace on the podium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “It’s creeping up sincerely speedy,” stated the 27-year-vintage Li, presently perched at No. 14 inside the international rankings for women’s singles. “The Pan Am Games are next. Then, after the Pan Am Games, the next large factor was Tokyo. One 12 months is going via, in reality, speedy, and usually an Olympic qualifying year; it goes by way of surely, actually quickly. It feels like the last Olympics became just the previous year. However, it’s already been three years since seeing that then.
“So I’m trying to focus more on the existing and the tournaments right now; however, at the same time, I must begin focusing, making plans, and getting ready for Tokyo.” I arrived Saturday in Calgary to retain those arrangements at the 2019 Yonex Canada Open Super 100 at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre. With a US$75,000 prize handbag and an excellent discipline that functions past Olympic and world champs and competition from 34 nations, this is the most prestigious badminton event inside the Great White North this year.
Tournament action opens Tuesday, with the finals in all divisions — ladies’ singles and doubles, men’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles — slated for subsequent Sunday. Li, born in Hong Kong but still a tyke when her family moved to Toronto, already counts herself as a 3-time winner of the Yonex Canada Open Super hundred. “It’s one of the large ones because it’s very uncommon for me to play in Canada,” she stated. “It’s unique. Many humans in Canada might support me, and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
She hopes to make them proud in Tokyo in 2020. The most successful Canadian badminton participant of all time, Li’s trophy series already consists of gold medals from the Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. She has twice experienced the hubbub of the Summer Olympics — an ancient fourth-vicinity end in ladies’ doubles in 2012 at London 2012, after which an in advance exit as she struggled with injuries four years later in Rio. As she builds toward a journey to Tokyo, her goal of standing on the podium doesn’t seem to this point-fetched.
“It’s pretty much building self-belief over time,” Li defined. “I’ve usually been able to compete with the world. I could beat No. 1 and the humans that have medalled at the Olympics. It’s pretty much believing that I can and consistently. I assume I had a variety of problems with self-belief developing up. Just coming from Canada and playing for Canada in badminton, a sport that wasn’t famous in Canada or was in no way predicted a lot, it was tough to think that I could do it.
“But I assume as I get older, my overall performance and consequences slowly deliver me self-assurance that ‘Oh, maybe I can do it.’ That’s simply over time and surrounding myself with humans who trust that I can and assist in building my confidence. “I don’t suppose that something is not possible. At the closing Olympic Games, a Spanish lady won the gold medal, and I don’t think anyone could have an idea that a non-Asian country might have won that. So I think that something is feasible. I don’t assume they should write to anyone from Canada out.”
And if this Canadian achieves her dream at Tokyo 2020, wouldn’t it be cool to mention that you watched her on the court in Calgary?
There is seating for 3,000 fans, and Li figures any rookie spectators may be inspired. “I assume humans might be amazed that it’s now not only a backyard game,” she stated. “Everything approximately badminton. It’s now not pretty much one element. You need to be correct. It’s not pretty much strength. It’s no longer just about speed. It’s no longer pretty much a method. It’s approximately a mixture of all of it, plus your character fashion. “Badminton is much quicker than many humans think, and it takes quite a few paintings, hours, and a few commitments to get to a positive level. Especially on the Canada Open, the level is so high. All of the gamers there were schooling six hours a day and six days per week. Everybody has placed so much time into it.”