Canadian badminton player Michelle Li hopes to make the final of the women's singles event of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
GLASGOW: HONG KONG-born Michelle Li is hoping that a medal at the Commonwealth Games will give badminton a big lift in Canada.
The 22-year-old Michelle, seeded third, is being touted as one of the medal contenders in the women’s singles – alongside top seed P.V. Sindhu of India, Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour and Malaysia’s Tee Jing Yi.
The individual competition starts on Tuesday at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
Michelle was a quarter-finalist at this year’s All-England. Last year, she was one of the fortunate shuttlers who benefited from the disqualification of four pairs in the women’s doubles at the London Olympic Games for match-fixing.
She and her partner Alexandra Bruce reached the semi-finals.
Michelle said that she envied players from Asia because “badminton is like a job for them”.
“It’s different for me. I have to fend for myself although the Canadian government gives grants … but it is not enough,” she said.
“Asian players get paid for what they do and all their travels are paid for. I have to find my own sponsors and, sometimes, it’s frustrating.
“The only thing that drives me on is my passion for the game.”
So passionate is she about the sport that this life science student of a local college in Ontario has even put her studies on hold as she wants to fully focus on the sport.
“I came here from Hong Kong when I was six years old. I started playing at that age and represented Canada at 17,” she said.
“It has all been good but badminton is not a very high-profile sport in Canada.
“It would be amazing if I could win a medal in my second Games. My goal is to reach the final.
“A good showing here will surely change a lot of thing as far as badminton is concerned in Canada.”
Yesterday, Michelle inspired Canada to a 4-1 win over Wales in a Group D tie of the mixed team event.