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MANASI JOSHI: SHINING A LIGHT ON GENDER AND DISABILITY

Joshi was crowned World Champion at the Basel Open 2019
Joshi was crowned World Champion at the Basel Open 2019

Manasi Joshi is India’s current Para badminton world champion and BBC India’s Sportswoman of the year. She claimed the World Championships gold in Basel last year and is set on the road to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 (postponed to 2021).

Joshi features on the podcast ‘Flame Bearers – The Women Athletes Carrying Tokyo’s Torch’ this month to shine a light on gender and disability in badminton.

Listen to the episode of ‘Flame Bearers – The Women Athletes Carrying Tokyo’s Torch

In 2011, Joshi, a recent graduate, had begun her first job as a software engineer in the Indian city of Mumbai. Scarcely 10 minutes into her journey, disaster struck – as she took a U-turn under a flyover, a lorry travelling in the wrong direction hit her car, severely injuring her leg. Joshi was to lose the leg in hospital, devastating her. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s a very different Manasi we see before us.

“The turning point of my life was the accident, which led to the amputation of my leg. After the accident, I had to relearn everything – from walking to conducting daily chores and activities on my own,” she said.

Badminton is one of the few sports that offers a level playing field for participants irrespective of gender and abilities.

Joshi is excited about her debut at the Paralympics next year.
Joshi is excited about her debut at the Paralympics next year.

BWF’s Focus on Para badminton

“When it comes to equality, we have to give every child a chance to play badminton for life,” said BWF Senior Education Manager Sharon Springer on the podcast.

“You see these athletes on the courts going corner-to-corner and realise that these women are incredibly fast and flexible. Badminton has a lot of equality. The courts are the same, equipment is the same and the point system is the same – whereas in other sports there may be different resources,” Springer said.

Notably, the prize money is equal for both genders too.

Joshi has been playing badminton since an early age and some of her earliest memories centre around playing badminton with her father.

“I was about six and we just had one racket in my house. My father would throw the shuttlecock to me and I’d try to hit it.”

Badminton Helped in Recovery

Badminton helped Joshi on her road to recovery following the accident and improve her hand-eye coordination, vital to physical rehabilitation.

During her physiotherapy sessions, Joshi stayed focused on getting back. “I would say I want to get back on to court as soon as possible,” Joshi said.

She played badminton with her brother, also a keen badminton player.

Joshi securing her spot at next year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to her tremendous courage and determination.

With Para badminton making its debut at the Paralympics, Joshi can’t contain her excitement.

Working to Clear Misconceptions

The ‘Flame Bearers’ podcast highlights Joshi’s work as an advocator of disability rights in India. Those with disability are treated with pity, or with certain stereotypes in mind, and that fundamentally is an area in need of change.

“You have to work hard to change these stereotypes. Places like stations need to become more accessible,” says Joshi.

Clearly the fight for equal rights remain an uphill battle but Joshi is positive on change happening.

Joshi is vocal about disability and women’s rights in India

“Just as we talk about women’s rights, we should also be talking about disability rights,” added Joshi.

India has stipulated a tax on disability resources such as prosthetic legs and braille printing. Joshi is vocal about this issue on Twitter. “Why should we pay taxes to walk? It is a basic birth right. I think if we can all come together, we can go back to a time where we don’t have to pay taxes on this,” she states.

One in every four adults has a disability in the United States, according to Ariella Barker, an attorney and policy advisor in the US. “It begins with government policy. The important thing is to make sure the community calls them out on that. Why are they not talking about the biggest minority group in this country?” asks Barker.

 

Source: BWF

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Chong Wei making plans to return to normal training in a week or two

KUALA LUMPUR: National badminton ace Lee Chong Wei could make his long-awaited return to the court in “a week or two”, says Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai.

The 36-year-old, who’s still recuperating from nose cancer treatment, had said last month that he is targeting a comeback to training in December.

And the three-time Olympics silver medallist appeared to be ready to get back into the routine that he’s so accustomed to.

“As on Monday, I was made to understand that Chong Wei had a discussion with coach Hendrawan on his training plans, and that he’s ready to return to the court anytime from now,” said Chin Chai.

“Not so soon, but I think it would be this month … possibly in a week or two.”

Chong Wei last played competitively at the Indonesian Open in July where he made it to the semi-finals before losing to reigning world champion Kento Momota.

It was a week after the tournament that Chong Wei had flown to Taiwan to undergo a two-and-a-half month treatment after he was diagnosed with early stage nose cancer.

After overcoming a difficult period which Chong Wei billed as “the toughest battle of his life”, he said in his first public appearance on Nov 8 that he has no intention of hanging up his racquet just yet, and will continue pursuing the elusive Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

If all goes well, Chong Wei said his first return to competition would be at the All-England in March.

He is so determined to make a comeback that he has been quietly working on getting physically fit upon returning from Taiwan in early October.

BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria said yesterday he has no doubt that Chong Wei would get back on his feet, just like how he overcame major setbacks in the past.

“I was in touch with him two days ago, he told me he’s in good health and is doing some workout to get his fitness back,” said Norza.

“I’m sure he will be ready by the time the Olympic qualifying period commences on May 1.”

 

 

Surce:  thestar.com.my

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ATHLETES, PUBLIC EMBRACE ANTI-DOPING CAMPAIGN

BWF’s joint anti-doping initiative with the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) has been well received by players, entourage and fans at the ongoing Yonex Open Japan 2016.

The multi-level engagement, blending BWF’s Integrity campaign – ‘i am badminton’ – and JADA’s ‘Play True’ initiative, and supported by Nippon Badminton Association, consisted of a quiz and
social-media activity for players and entourage on Monday and Tuesday, and outreach for the public yesterday and today. The Yonex Open Japan, the seventh event in the MetLife BWF World Superseries circuit, began on Monday and ends with the finals on Sunday.

Former Japan international and current BWF Athletes’ Commission member Shintaro Ikeda assisted JADA staff at the booth in the training hall, explaining concepts to players and inviting them to participate in the quiz and sign the ‘Play True’ flag. Among the players who took part were Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, Akane Yamaguchi, Ayaka Takahashi, Minatsu Mitani, Denmark’s Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, Malaysia’s Iskander Zulkarnain, Korea’s Lee Dong Keun, Ko Sung Hyun, Thailand’s Bodin Issara, Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto and England’s Chris Adcock. Brochures and wrist bands were given to participants.

Players participated in a quiz to test their awareness of anti-doping procedures. Prepared in a fun format with multiple-choice questions, the top scores and times taken were displayed on a board. Chris Adcock won the quiz, getting all ten answers right.

“It’s a good initiative. Obviously, we all want clean sport,” said Adcock. “It’s useful they have come up with something like this.”

Players were also invited to take photos with ‘i am badminton’ x ‘Play True’ selfie boards and post them on their social media accounts. Twitter posts by Japanese star Ayaka Takahashi, Ikeda and Adcock attracted a number of likes and re-tweets.

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Mizuki Fujii was the face of the campaign yesterday at the spectator booth which was strategically placed at an aisle near the stands. Several fans, and even parents of players, stopped by to chat with Fujii and JADA staff. To attract young fans, a JADA Manga animation film highlighting anti-doping messages played on a laptop. Another screen showed images of the stars at the athletes’ booth.

“It was a great opportunity for me to acknowledge the importance of sharing the message of sport integrity and anti-doping to the public,” said Fujii.

“Not only athletes, but also as supporters of badminton, I hope we, the badminton community, can disseminate ‘clean sport’ universally.”

Her former partner, Reika Kakiiwa, was at the booth today, attracting a long queue of spectators who posed for selfies and received wristbands, stickers and brochures in return.

 

Source: Badminton World Federation
Link: http://bwfbadminton.com/2016/09/22/athletes-public-embrace-anti-doping-campaign/
Article by: DEV SUKUMAR

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CHARISMATIC CHAMP BOWS OUT

Lee Yong Dae’s victory at his home Victor Korea Open marked the culmination of a brilliant international career that saw him become the most successful doubles player in World Superseries with 43 titles.

It was an exit that could not have been better scripted, for not only did he achieve the record on his final day of international badminton, he bid goodbye on his terms – when he and Yoo Yeon Seong were still the world’s No.1 pair and in no immediate danger of relinquishing the throne. That the Koreans countered the best of the new generation of Men’s Doubles shuttlers – China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen – would have given him no small amount of satisfaction.

“It was quite emotional when we entered the arena as there were so many spectators in the stadium,” said Lee. “The initial feeling was tense; the first game wasn’t going the way we expected. We were having a hard time against our tough opponents, but towards the end of the second game we managed to pull it off and then we could relax a bit.”

Lee said he was unaware that he’d become the most successful doubles winner of Superseries titles.

“I was aware that I’d won more than 40 Superseries, but I wasn’t sure of exactly how many.”

The world awoke to this prodigious talent in 2008, when he won the Mixed Doubles gold at the Beijing Olympics, and over the next eight years, he was richly successful in winning several major titles in both his doubles categories. He did miss out narrowly on the World Championships gold, but that will remain a small aberration in an otherwise sterling career. Looking back, he regrets not converting the two match points he and Chung Jae Sung had in their epic World Championships final (21-18 16-21 28-26) against China’s Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng in Hyderabad, India.

“I feel it would’ve been nice if I’d won the World Championships (2009) in India; that final was very close,” said Lee. “Maybe my career would’ve been better if I’d won the World Championships. I feel most regretful about the last Olympics in Rio. I was way too tense and felt too much pressure from the public. Without that, I could probably have done a lot better.”

But if he was destined not to win a World Championships crown in three finals, Lee savoured phenomenal success in other events. The last few years have seen him at the peak of his prowess – he and Yoo had two Superseries in 2016; six in 2015 and five in 2014. The success of the pair was built on Lee’s opportunism at the front, Yoo’s hammer blows from the back, and their incredible defense; Lee had few peers when it came to anticipation and skill in spotting and converting openings.

But Lee Yong Dae was not just another successful badminton player. His pop star good looks, boyish charisma and friendly disposition helped his appeal transcend badminton, and it is little wonder that news of his retirement has been received with incredulity.

His exit while on top will keep his fans hopeful of a second coming.

Highlights:

-Olympic Games champion (Mixed Doubles), 2008

-Olympic Games bronze medal (Men’s Doubles), 2012

-World Championships silver medallist (Men’s Doubles), 2007, 2009, 2014

-Dubai World Superseries Finals champion (Men’s Doubles), 2014

-Badminton Asia Championships, champion (Men’s Doubles) 2008, 2013, 2015, 2016

-Yonex All England champion (Men’s Doubles), 2008 & 2012

 

 

Source: Badminton World Federation
Link: http://bwfbadminton.com/2016/10/04/charismatic-champ-bows-out/
Article by: DEV SUKUMAR

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CHAMPION “ZHAO YUNLEI” RETIRES TO CLASSROOM

China’s badminton fans will have one last chance to see the legendary Zhao Yunlei in action before she retires permanently.

The five-time World champion intends to represent her province, Hubei, in the National Games in autumn 2017. It will be an opportunity for her legions of fans to bid farewell to one of the titans of badminton who also created history by winning gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles – the first time a badminton player won two titles at the same Olympics.

Back-to-back victories in both categories at the BWF World Championships in Copenhagen (2014) and Jakarta (2015) earned her further admiration and respect among friends and rivals alike. Add to those accolades, massive success on the annual BWF World Super series tour over a number of years and it makes for a stunning career of which the iron-willed Zhao can be justly proud.

Reflecting on her countless battles, she picked her Mixed Doubles triumph (with Zhang Nan) at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, as her most cherished badminton memory. That achievement earned her another enviable double, having claimed the Women’s Doubles gold (with Tian Qing) at the 2010 Asian Games on home turf in Guangzhou, China.

“I was really happy to fulfill the doubles grand slam at the Asian Games. There are so many big matches in my memory, it is hard to name a specific one…but I am satisfied with my performances and my career,” said the iconic athlete who turned 30 in August this year.

Given her heights of success in the past four years, it’s surprising to learn the BWF Female Player of the Year for 2014 thought about retiring after the London Olympic Games but decided to fight on, despite various injuries.

“It was a challenge to continue playing though I was getting older and had more injuries but I was able to still be

one of the top female players in the Zhao Yunlei - 2014world. I have worked hard for many years,” noted Zhao who has proven one of the most tenacious players at net during her career.

As she retreats into retirement, the popular sportswoman had some parting words to fans worldwide, assuring them she will not disappear entirely from the badminton scene.

“Thank you to all the fans both at home and abroad. It is because of your support I have been so successful and that I have been able to share so many cherished moments with you throughout my career.

“I will continue to do my best to promote badminton in many ways, hopefully we will meet each other soon.”

True to her word, Zhao has already been engaging in ambassadorial duties for the sport which brought her international fame and fortune, last week participating in promotional activities for next year’s TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup while she vacationed on the Gold Coast in Australia.

“The Gold Coast is beautiful. I have fulfilled my dream of patting a dolphin since I arrived, and I’m looking forward to more sight-seeing while I’m here. The beaches are beautiful and I feel privileged to be able to share my competitive insights with younger players as they prepare for next year’s tournament,” she said, enjoying her stay as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland.

In addition, classes and studying have replaced Zhao’s usually busy training and playing schedule as she switches her attention to earning a post-graduate degree in athletic training and sports management at Beijing Sport University. Her courses include sports economics, sports management, sports marketing.

“I wish to broaden my view through this MA degree, to become mentally stronger,” she explained.

No doubt expanding her knowledge will equip this champion to make a contribution of a different kind in the future – but fans will certainly always remember what she achieved on court.

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 Zhao Yunlei (Women’s Doubles & Mixed Doubles)

  • Olympic Games champion (Women’s Doubles & Mixed Doubles), 2012
  • Olympic Games bronze medallist (Mixed Doubles), 2016
  • World Champion (Women’s Doubles & Mixed Doubles), 2015 & 2014
  • Asian Games gold medallist, 2014 (Mixed Doubles) and 2010 (Women’s Doubles)
  • Dubai World Superseries Finals 2014 champion (Mixed Doubles)

 

Source: Protech Sports Autralia

link: https://protechsports.com.au/champion-zhao-yunlei-retires-to-classroom/

 

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