Liu Ying finds serenity in cooking after stormy Olympics

Serving up a dish: Goh Liu Ying at a Badminton World Federation dim sum cooking class in Guangzhou, China, in 2019.

PETALING JAYA: No badminton, but lots of cooking.

This is how mixed doubles star Goh Liu Ying had been relaxing in Melaka with her family before returning to Kuala Lumpur to face a hectic second-half badminton season.

World No. 8 Liu Ying and partner Chan Peng Soon took part in the Tokyo Olympic Games last month but they did not win any of their group matches, which saw them returning home early and disappointed.

“After I came back from Tokyo, I did not want to have anything to do with badminton for a while. I spent quality time with my parents. I cooked for them - simple vegetable and fish dishes.

“I just needed that time off from badminton. I could not train anyway because the badminton halls were closed but I did not want to talk about it.”

Liu Ying’s cooling-off period from the sport was understandable. As independent players, she and Peng Soon, who had won silver at the 2016 Rio edition, had faced challenges after challenges in their preparation for the Tokyo Games.

“There were just so many hurdles... the Olympics was postponed, tournaments were called off, we did not have a place to train at one point. As independent players, we had to deal with our physical conditions, administration and finances too.

“But we still did our best with all the limitations. Unfortunately, we lost, that was disappointing but it was frustrating that we had to face all kinds of insulting comments too. It was hard.”

Now that she is fresh after her break, Liu Ying has reminded herself to stay focused despite whatever hardships that come her way.

“I love the sport. If not, I would have left it a long time ago,” said Liu Ying, who had started structured training when she was only nine years old before she joined Bukit Jalil at the age of 13.

“I can’t be good all the time, but I will be satisfied if I know that I had given my best in whatever condition I’m in - that’s how I will motivate myself,” said the 30-year-old.

Liu Ying-Peng Soon will return to the Denmark Open in Odense from Oct 19-24, followed by the France Open (Oct 26-31); German Open (Nov 2-7); three back-to-back events in Bali - Indonesian Masters (Nov 16-21), Indonesian Open (Nov 23-28) and World Tour Finals ( Dec 1-5, if they qualify); and World championships in Huelva, Spain (Dec 12-19).

“It’s a long stretch of tournaments and Peng Soon and I have not even started court training as the badminton halls are still closed. We are focusing on gym workouts... hopefully, we’ll be able to cope until end of the year!”

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