Badminton Athletes Motivated by 2018 Commonwealth Games Village and Each Other

After a 14-hour flight out of Vancouver, a tired but enthusiastic and hopeful group of Badminton athletes landed in Brisbane, Australia this morning and travelled by bus to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games athlete’s village.

With approximately 60% of the competing athletes having arrived in Gold Coast, Australia, the 2018 Commonwealth Games village is becoming busier and will ultimately host in excess of 6,600 athletes and officials during the 11 days of Games competition. The first venue the participants see, the athlete’s village represents the largest urban renewal project for the 2018 Gold Coast Games and incorporates a complete manicured community with over 1,250 dwellings featuring two-bedroom apartments and 82 townhouses. Upon arriving in the village, the eight Badminton Canada athletes who will represent Canada as they step onto court at the 2018 Commonwealth Games remarked on the beauty of the village and shared first impressions of the Gold Coast Games.

“The village is really nice and I love the bright colours and the athlete’s lounge,” said Brittney Tam. “I saw many pictures on Instagram of the village and thought I knew what to expect, but the size and number of athletes was a surprise.”

The 2018 Games Canadian badminton team, comprised of veterans and youth, includes Brittney Tam (Markham, ON), Kristen Tsai (Vancouver, BC), Rachel Honderich (Markham, ON), Jason Ho-Shue (Markham, ON), Brian Yang (Markham, ON), Nyl Yakura (Markham, ON), Ty Lindeman (Edmonton, AB) and 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Michele Li (Markham, ON), Canada’s most successful Canadian female badminton player ever. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland, Li became the first Canadian woman to ever win badminton singles gold at the Commonwealth Games. Her teammates see her as a great inspiration for themselves and for the sport.

“Michelle has been my greatest influence,” says 2018 Commonwealth Games badminton teammate Kristen Tsai. “As the badminton scene has historically been dominated by Asian and European countries, Michelle has helped prove that Canadians can compete with top countries around the world.”

While acclimatizing and overcoming jet-lag, the team toured the impressive village and started on-site preparations immediately with a practice session in the afternoon. Head Coach Mike Butler (St. John, New Brunswick) remarked on the hopes for the team in Gold Coast.

“The Commonwealth Games are an important benchmark for our athletes as they prepare for the 2020 Olympics,” stated Butler. “At these Games our athletes will be able to gauge themselves against some of the best in the world and we have realistic expectations for our athletes to finish on the podium.”

Historically, Canada sits fourth behind England, Malaysia and India it terms of total badminton medals won at the Commonwealth Games with 19. With the badminton competition starting on the 5th and such great results coming out of the 2014 Glasgow Games, returning Gold-Champion Li is passionate about the purpose of the Commonwealth Games property and about her role to motivate others.

“Winning gold in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games represented reward and hope for me. It was proof hard work pays off no matter how much the odds are against me and nothing is impossible,” said Li. “This motivates me to continue to reach even higher and gives me hope to continue to strive for things that may seem unachievable. It also hopefully inspires more athletes to do the same.”

The 2018 Gold Coast badminton competition starts on April 5, 2018 with the mixed doubles competition at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

Patrick Kenny

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