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. And then after Pan Am Games, the next large factor goes to be 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 become just last yr. However, it’s already been three years since seeing that then.
“So I’m trying to attention greater on the existing and the tournaments right now, however at the same time, it’s crucial for me to begin focusing and start 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 maximum prestigious badminton event inside the Great White North this yr.
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, who become born in Hong Kong however still a tyke while her family moved to the Toronto place, already counts herself as a 3-time winner of the Yonex Canada Open Super a hundred. “For me, it’s one of the large ones because it’s very uncommon that I get to play in Canada,” she stated. “It’s unique. There are such a lot of humans in Canada who might be supporting me, and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
She hopes to make them proud in Tokyo in 2020. The maximum successful Canadian badminton participant of all time, Li’s trophy series, already consists of gold medals from each of 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 4 years later in Rio. As she builds in the direction of 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. No. 1 and the humans that have medalled at the Olympics; I would be capable of beat them. 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 whole lot, it was tough for me to think that I could do it.
“But I assume as I get older, my overall performance and my consequences simply slowly deliver me self assurance that ‘Oh, maybe I can do it.’ That’s simply over time and surrounding myself with humans that trust that I can and assist build 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’s cool to mention which 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 a lot of humans think, and it takes quite a few paintings and quite a few hours and quite a few commitment to getting 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.”