Updated: Jan 6
Last post I reminisced about the Toronto Pan Am Games… In this post I’m going to touch a bit on what would’ve been one of the most important weeks of my career.
The plan was by tomorrow, July 24th 2020, I would be walking into a full stadium of people with the constant flashing of cameras, goosebumps all over my body, wearing the red and white proudly at the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This would’ve been my third Olympics but as we all know the Olympics has been postponed till next year July 23rd, 2021.
I have grown a lot since my first Olympics in London 2012. Every Olympic Games are unique and there is always a series of unexpected events that occur at each Olympics that will surprise you and make each one extremely hard to prepare for.
It’s still so crazy to think that this week I would’ve been in Tokyo getting ready to step on one of the biggest stages of my career. Instead I’m at home going sunglass shopping with my mom and having barbecues with my friends. Of course, I’m appreciating the time I have with everyone here at home since it’s something I have never been able to do. But while making the best of the situation, I’m also struggling with the uncertainty of when my next competition will be.
Keeping my focus
I have been training since the badminton clubs opened up again in Toronto. However, with the current situation it’s tough to know what I am training for in the short run and what my plan for the rest of the year is. All I know right now is I enjoy training and will continue to train hard because there are things that will never change: My goal is still the Olympics no matter when it is and I am still focused on making myself better each day and making the most of every day (both on and off court).
2020 has hit us with very unexpected and unfortunate events. As an athlete, it has been a new experience to attempt to plan and adjust to what has become a global pandemic. Everyone has been put outside of their comfort zones. In my view, it’s really all about how we approach the situation. It’s about the attitude we take and the perspective we choose to see the situation in.
I always try to stay positive
Obviously, I cannot speak for anyone but myself. I do get asked a lot of questions about how I am coping with everything. With the whole postponement of the Olympics and the shutting down of clubs and the no training etc. When people ask this, their usual tone and the energy I feel is almost pity… Like they’re expecting me to see it as a hit on my career. As if I’m extremely taken back by everything that’s happening. But I don’t see it that way.
The events of COVID-19 have affected everyone differently, whether it’s professionally or mentally. For me it was extremely frustrating that my original plan was derailed into the unknown. There was and is still no way of knowing anything. It’s sad that nothing is the same anymore, but I always try to look at it from a different perspective. In terms of badminton I’m choosing to see this year as more time to grow and prepare for the Olympics.
New challenges and opportunities
Everyone is on the same boat. We are all given different resources, different environments, and different cards to work with. But we are all given our own right to make decisions to deal with everything in our own way. So yeah, it’s crazy to think I would’ve been at the Olympics in Tokyo right now and still carrying the progress I was having since Japan Open 2019. However, no matter what happens right now, I know I am doing the right thing: I am doing everything I can to put myself in the best position possible to perform whenever competition comes around again.
I have not lost focus, and I have not forgotten about competition and the Olympics. Competing at the Olympic Games is one of the biggest experiences you will have as an athlete. It’s difficult to describe the emotions and feelings that go through your body when you walk out in the opening ceremonies or when you take your first step on court. Athletes dedicate their whole lives for this one tournament and I will do everything I can to return home with that Olympic medal…
But right now I am making the most of being home and spending time with my family and friends. I am enjoying the summer I never had because of what I do. Sometimes plans don’t go the way we want and we have to accept that. Personally I have learned to accept the situations as they are. I have always struggled to be okay with not having a plan. Now I have to be okay with the unknown.
I do believe everything happens for a reason, and what is meant to be will happen. So I hope we all can find our groove and come out of 2020 even stronger than before. 2020 is the universe hitting us with new challenges and opportunities to grow as a whole, so why not take it!
Till next time!