Updated: Jan 6
Today I’m sharing with you the second part of the live online talk show I joined few weeks ago. In case you missed it or didn’t read my previous post yet (how dare you… lol) 😛 I can tell you I joined The Real DKLo (@therealdklo) on his talk show on Instagram, “The Early Night Show”. He is a Toronto based food writer/speaker-presenter/marketer and we were talking for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The part of the talk show that I share today touches two very different topics that are both very important to me. First of all the part that makes many people smile - food 🙂 - and secondly something that might enlighten those who never gave this topic any thoughts; yes, I had doubts about my journey as an athlete too!
A serious matter
I think many athletes out there have doubted whether they were on the right track in their pursuit of a successful career. I think it’s very normal to sometimes doubt yourself. However, even in those times of doubt it’s so important to remind yourself of what it is you’re doing it for and keep pushing through even when times are tough. I don’t want to live with regret and I know if I give up it will be something I regret for sure. I’m quite sure you all know that by now. Still, it’s a very serious matter that deserves a bit of focus. So today you can read some of my thoughts about what motivates me to go on, despite the hard journey that I have chosen.
You may remember how I left you all with a cliffhanger in my previous post… 😉 For that reason I’m just gonna include the last question from last time so it makes more sense when you start reading below.
Since I talk about food here, you can consider my previous post as the starter and this one as the main dish. But we don’t settle for a two-course menu, do we? No! 😉 So if you stay tuned like always, the third course - the dessert - will be published soon as I have a third and final part of the talk show to share with you as well.
So, see you soon! 🙂
DKLo: How important is it for you to be able to represent Canada and bring a sense of that maple leaf pride that people always identify with hockey or basketball, but certainly not badminton?
It has always been my motivation and it has always been a goal of mine to change the sport in Canada. I’ve been to Asia and Europe to play in their leagues, so I have experienced quite a bit in terms of their training and competition culture. Its really cool to compare what it’s like there versus here because of course… there’s a huge difference.
I think a lot of it is because we don’t have the same amount of people playing, and we don’t have the same support or the same resources as the other countries. In Canada we have a lot of talented players that don’t pursue the sport due to lack of resources but also lack of confidence. Not many people believe Canadians or anyone from this side of the world can make it to the top. Because of this, the sport never really goes anywhere. This has always been a driving force for me to break the stereotypes and just go for it, believe in myself, bring in the results, raise awareness and do what i can for the sport.
I want to show people that people from this side of the world can still play badminton. I enjoy playing and I love the sport… so it’s a passion of mine to help the sport too.
DKLo: Have you ever had doubts about your journey as an athlete?
Yeah, for sure! It’s definitely a very hard journey that I have chosen. There is not a lot of resources for badminton in Canada and I’m fighting against people with unlimited resources. So sometimes it feels like you’re not really going anywhere but you still have to push and put yourself through those really tough trainings.
And even after all the exhausting trainings and pain you put your body through, sometimes you still lose first round in the tournaments… which can get pretty demotivating and tough. There will always be periods of time where you forget the joy and your vision… and you’ll lose your and mind and feel like you’re going to go crazy. Honestly its normal to feel like that because it’s not an easy journey. If it were easy, everybody would do it.
So during those times, first step is to RECOGNIZE you are having a tough time. It’s more important to relax and not panic and take a step back to allow yourself to think clearly. Remember why you enjoy the sport and make sure you have fun doing everything that you’re doing even though it’s tough. If you have trouble with this, make sure you have the right people around you that will always be there to help remind you and keep you on the right track.
Training can be extremely tedious and exhausting but I enjoy it and I love the feeling of putting in the work during training. So even though sometimes I don’t enjoy the training, I figure out why and I make sure I can adjust it to still be enjoyable but also productive in a different way. However, if there are other things I don’t enjoy, I will try to find another way to get the same result and prevent forcing myself to do what I don’t enjoy. Once in a while it’s okay, but if you feel like you’re forcing yourself all the time to power through trainings and it’s not enjoyable… something needs to change.
There has always been this fire inside me in terms of badminton. I always wanted to go for the top. I always wanted to play. When I’m on court, I always want to give it my all. But sometimes there are so many things you can’t control like outside influences or injuries. So things that are sometimes out of your control, like for example finances… I can’t just magically poof out a million dollars. It’s things like this that discourages me and demotivates me something because its out of my control and I don’t know what to do. But it’s really important for me to keep talking to my support team and keep myself positive and resilient and think of ways to make it work.
DKLo: Do you find that some of the setbacks or some of the challenges are things that… You take it as a challenge, you take it as something that you will prove people wrong with again and again… Do you see it that way?
Rather than proving people wrong, I like to see it more as making myself better. So it’s more of the internal challenges that I give myself to create that extra motivation. I want to keep improving myself and I don’t like to compare so i take other peoples’ successes as inspiration.
DKLo: If you look outbound for motivations, those things come and go. But if you look internally, that’s where you find the real motivation, right?
Yes, and it’s more satisfying that way. It’s more pore peaceful, I guess.
DKLo: That’s interesting, because I have always seen you as a very fierce competitor and it is the first time I hear you mention something like ‘peaceful’.
I always try to be peaceful and just enjoy the journey.
DKLo: Now some off-athletic questions… You do show quite a bit of food on your Instagram when you are not competing. What is your favorite food?
I love to eat! 🙂 So I’m always eating. There’s like a bug in my stomach because I never get full. My favorite dessert is egg tarts – the butter biscuit crust style (not the Portuguese egg tarts where the top is slightly burnt). And I really like sushi. Japanese food is definitely my go to. Oh, and dim sum!
DKLo: Do you have some recommendations for restaurants in Toronto?
I really enjoy the egg tarts from Soho Bakery in Markham. I actually just discovered this place during the lockdown.
My favorite sushi place is Gal’s Sushi, and my dim sum go to is Skyview Fusion. This is all in the Markham area because I’m a Markham girl.
DKLo: Are there any particular tournaments you look forward to because you like the food in that tournament?
Japan Open! And Hong Kong Open and Korea Open…
DKLo: Can you eat Indonesian food, which is generally very spicy?
I can’t eat too much spicy food but I do love Indonesian food. A lot of people have asked me what my favorite Indonesian dish is, and it is nasi opor, which is mild and creamy. I really miss it and I can only get it in Kudus in Central Java.
DKLo: How do you keep a balanced diet when you are an athlete?
Currently my diet isn’t exactly the most strict. I like to eat so much so its very difficult for me to restrict myself sometimes (something I am working on), but when I am at tournaments I do control the portions. I think the size of the portions is the most important. It doesn’t really matter what you eat, just don’t overeat it.
DKLo: Do you do cheat days for eating or do you eat everything with moderation?
On days where I’m not training at all I know that I’ve worked really hard during the week, and sometimes you do have those cravings so I do sometimes have a really nice cheat meal on Saturday like DIM SUM for example. Then I would have ‘all you can eat sushi’ Sunday night or something to prepare for another week of training.
I’m sure we can all relate to the guilt we feel after indulging in a cheat meal… I certainly feel it but it helps for me to know I can eat whatever I want just as long as I control my portions and make sure to work hard again the next day.
DKLo: So what you say is that real world class athletes don’t eat salad?!
I think I would go crazy if I just ate salad… BUT I still do once in a while. Definitely not everyday, but it’s nice to eat something light to detoxify and cleanse the body.
DKLo: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not training or eating? What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not training or eating I’m playing with the baby, which we have to clarify is not my baby. It’s the baby of my brother, so she’s my niece. She is very energetic and you will never be bored watching her. I think she’s just at that age where she’s extremely cute and extremely crazy.
And since the pandemic started I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing… But usually, I just like to relax and watch shows on Netflix, read and go grocery shopping. 🙂
DKLo: Do you see yourself as getting closer to your family during the pandemic?
For sure, yes. When I’m travelling I don’t get to spend much time with my family and even when I’m not travelling I’m not home very often because of training and appointments. So now that everything is put on hold, there’s nowhere to go and I’m home for such a long period of time. So I see my parents, the baby, my brother and sister-in-law every day, which hasn’t happened for a really long time… (Probably since 2016 when I had my surgery.)
DKLo: Are they excited or are they so done with you being around the house all the time now?
I think they are so used to me being gone that they forget how much I eat, but at least they no longer have to worry about leftovers because I finish all their food. 😛 I think it’s just always nice to have more people around so it’s not as empty.
DKLo: But obviously you’re looking forward to getting back to training and into your rhythm again, right?
Yes, and I’m definitely interested in what the schedule will look like when training resumes and everything starts up again. I know that when everything starts again and everything gets back to “go” mode, I’m gonna miss being at home and relaxed. So I’m trying to enjoy the situation as it is now and make the most of it.
And with that food talk, I’m leaving you ready for the dessert; the third and final part of the talk show, will be published soon. So stay tuned… 🙂