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【Hong Kong Badminton Open】 Lee Cheuk-yiu: Badminton Is My Career and Every Point Counts

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【Hong Kong Badminton Open】 Lee Cheuk-yiu: Badminton Is My Career and Every Point Counts
2019-11-12

【Hong Kong Badminton Open】 Lee Cheuk-yiu: Badminton Is My Career and Every Point Counts

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The pressure for a young achiever might be more overwhelming than what a player usually faces. Lee Cheuk-yiu, Men’s Single player of Hong Kong, defeated Chinese player Tian Houwei, who ranked World No.7 at the time, three years ago at the Hong Kong Badminton Open at the age of 21. Last year, Lee was a semi-finalist of the Hong Kong Open, his personal best at this home tournament. Acknowledging his life is only about badminton now, Lee, who will compete in the Hong Kong Open for the fifth time, sounds like a veteran: “I hope to take one match at a time and every point counts.”

Learning badminton from his father at the age of 4, Lee Cheuk-yiu became a full-time athlete when he was 16. Despite the young age, he has already played badminton for 19 years. The Hong Kong Open is his lucky charm, where he snatched his breakthrough victory in 2016 by defeating Chinese player Tian Houwei, who ranked World No.7 at the time. With the home advantage, he reached the semi-finals last year, which was his personal best at this home tournament. Lee humbly remarked: “Everyone might have some expectations on me, and hope I could achieve similar result as last year or even better. But I understand what I did last year was simply luck. I surely wish my performance could exceed expectations, but now I just hope to take one match at a time and start from the qualification round first.”

Always smiling with a childlike face and putting on glittering accessories, Lee is pretty outstanding in terms of appearance compared with most of the players. During practice, he often makes funny expressions, mimics his teammates’ tones, and dances while picking up balls, which make his teammates and coach laugh. Although he might look casual during practice, he becomes a different person during match play. “I will become very committed and determined when playing a match, completely different from the practice mode. I actually don’t really care about my ranking. I only hope to play my best every time.”

Gaining fame at many junior tournaments at the young age, Lee has faced many challenges, which are also encountered by other athletes, after becoming an adult. For instance, the 23-year-old athlete has suffered a few setbacks at international-level tournaments this year when playing against world-class opponents. “I was eliminated in the first round in six tournaments this year and the most disheartening experience was losing the match after an early lead. I was really discontented.” Albeit the young age of 23, Lee noted sincerely that he was getting older mentally. “In these past few years I’ve felt like badminton is no longer a hobby but my career. Every point counts and I will continue walking on this path devotedly.”

Acknowledging there is still much room for improvement, Lee says he needs to learn from Hong Kong No.1 player Angus Ng Ka-long. “Angus is very serious during practice and excels at every part of the training. I know we reap what we sow, so my goal is to stop being lazy and achieve the goals I’ve set up for every practice and match. My goal for the Hong Kong Open this time is to reach the second round of the main draw.”

“YONEX-SUNRISE Hong Kong Open Badminton Championships 2019” will take place from 12th to 17th November at Hong Kong Coliseum. Some Hong Kong players will play the qualification rounds on the first day of the tournament.