|Posted by Anna Rice on February 5, 2009 at 3:01 PM||comments (0)|
The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I flew back to Canada for the 2009 Canadian National Championships in Laval, Quebec. The tournament went well and I was happy to bring the title home. However, when I phoned home to share my news of victory with my family, I was informed that my Auntie's husband had lost his battle with cancer. I was very sad to hear the news and my sincerest sympathies are with my Aunt and her family during this difficult time.
|Posted by Anna Rice on January 20, 2009 at 8:35 AM||comments (1)|
Happy New Year!
Wow, Christmas has already come and gone and now 2009 is in full swing. I’m back in Denmark after almost a month in Canada, two weeks of which I spent at home in Vancouver. The West Coast of British Columbia got the biggest snow dump since 1965, and although it looked beautiful it wreaked total havoc over the city’s transportation infrastructure. Over 1,000 flights were canceled out of the Vancouver airport, with many people spending days there waiting to get to their Christmas destination. I was actually very lucky to get home without too much delay, only 15 hours in the Edmonton airport plus three more days to receive my bags. Here's a pic just outside my mom's house during one of the snow storms...
When I finally got home to Vancouver, I had lots of fun visiting with friends and family and enjoying Christmas activities. But I also found myself reflecting on the past year, which I consider to have been the most eventful of my life so far. 2008 was filled with ups and downs and definitely some ‘all arounds’, as I traveled to over a dozen countries to compete. The highlight of the year was definitely my Olympic Experience in Beijing, where I was so thankful to have my family and some very close friends present to support me and witness the culmination of many years of hard work.
The lowlight of the year was the passing of my Grandmother just days before the Olympics began. I was very close with my Gram and despite her age, I took the loss quite hard. What I always appreciated about my Grandma was that she never fussed whether I won or lost on the badminton court. If I won, a simple "good good" would suffice. If I lost, she'd come out with a witty insult for my oponent and that would be the end of it. In a carreer as competitve as professional sports, it's so important to have people in your life that you know will be there for you through thick and thin, through the wins and the losses.
As the draw junkies among you may have noticed, I wasn't in the Malaysia and Korea Super Series programs. Unfortunately, I got quite sick with a bad cold during the holidays and therefore chose to sit this tour out, as I wasn’t prepared for these tournaments. It often seems to be the case that as soon as I get home and am able to truly relax...I get sick. The body and mind are strange in this way, but after such an emotionally and physically taxing year, I had to listen to my body and give myself some rest.
Ok, so I thought I might be able to get away without mentioning my match against Kim Dong Moon back in Calgary just before Christmas. But I’ve been getting emails asking me to tell how the match went, so I will let you have your fun. To put it very simply: I was crushed by the Great Wall of...Korea. I will blame my performance on the altitude, but he was simply awesome. I am known for my fighting spirit, and there are only a few people in the entire world against which I have wanted to give up and put myself out of misery. KDM is one of such people. It could have been his incredible shot placement, his ridiculous anticipation, or his nonchalant stroll around the court- which only a multi Olympic and World medalist can truly master, but I was completely and utterly dusted. Despite the pain, I had so much fun that I came back for more the following day.
I didn’t feel quite as bad about the loss after he told me that he also used to win against all the singles guys on the Korean National team! They must have thanked their lucky stars he stuck with doubles and mixed ; )
|Posted by Anna Rice on December 26, 2008 at 2:28 PM||comments (0)|
From snowy Vancouver, I'd like to wish the global badminton community a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, and a healthy holiday break no matter what occassion you are celebrating during this festive season.
******Happy New Year and all the best for 2009!!! ******
|Posted by Anna Rice on December 16, 2008 at 3:22 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted by Anna Rice on December 13, 2008 at 12:49 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Anna Rice on November 26, 2008 at 7:39 AM||comments (2)|
|Posted by Anna Rice on November 20, 2008 at 3:47 AM||comments (1)|
Greetings from Shanghai, where I?m playing in the 2008 China Open Super Series. It?s great to be back in China again, though a much different environment than that of the Olympics a few months back. No special passport lines or VIP treatment this time around I?m afraid. Speaking of Olympics, I?ve uploaded some more pics so check them out in the photo section.
Shanghai is the business capital of China- whereas Beijing is the political centre, and the wealth of the city- especially in the Pudong area where the tournament is being held, is very apparent.
The Plaza Royale hotel is where all the players are staying and it is extremely nice, (especially for me as I was upgraded to a suite because there was a problem with the air conditioning in my first room : )) The Chinese media are out in full force to cover their badminton stars and the crowd at the Pudong stadium is also excited to see their Olympic heroes back in action.
This tournament feels like the official debut for the new batch of Chinese National team players, with many new Chinese names present in all events. In the women?s singles, it feels like the end of an era to see Zhang Ning sitting behind the court rather than standing on it. She seems very relaxed and happy to be starting this new phase. I even saw her drinking wine at the welcome dinner!
Although it is nice to see some new faces on the top circuit, it?s not so nice to fall victim to one of them. Yesterday I met that annoying fate when I lost in straight sets to Li Han, a young Chinese girl who plays very well. I played strong in patches, but wasn?t able to extend the rallies as I needed to during some crucial parts of the match, which gave the youngster too much confidence. However, I was very happy that I felt no pain in my knee during the match, as I injured it at the French Super Series a few weeks back.
Yes, there are some good players coming up from the ever-strong Chinese structure, as was seen in my match and others, including the youngster who pushed the world number 1 Tine Rasmussen to three sets. Having said that, there is no one who seems likely to replace Zhang Ning or Lin Dan anytime soon.
The bad news is I lost my singles. The good news is I won my doubles with newly crowned World Junior Champion Saina Nehwal. I was joking with Saina and my good friend Lena Frier Christiansen yesterday telling them that ?from now on, I only play doubles with Champions: you must be a world champion or a European Champion, or some major champion to play with me? ; ) . I have played doubles with Lena Frier for several years in the Danish Club league, and she is the reigning European Champion in women?s doubles.
Saina and I will take on the 4th seeds from Korea later today, so I have to go and prepare.
PS?I was all wrong on my predictions. Taufik won in straight sets over Boonsak, Saina lost to Zhu Lin and Pi Hongyan lost to Wang Chen. That?s why I don?t bet! ; P
PPS?My website is still inaccessible from China mainland. Arg!!! Thanks to Mark for helping me upload this from Ireland.
|Posted by Anna Rice on November 9, 2008 at 5:06 PM||comments (1)|
When I saw the picture of CBC journalist Mellissa Fung beside the news headline yesterday that read ?Canadian Journalist Held Captive in Afghanistan?, I couldn?t believe my eyes.? Relief ensued when I opened the article and read that Mellissa had been safely released.
I met Mellissa in Beijing last summer at the Olympics, after she contacted me to ask if she could wrote a story about the fact that I could not access my website from within China (which, on a side note, my friends in China confirm is still the case). Mellissa was in Beijing as part of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation?s (CBC) team of reporters, we met when she came to the Olympic village for an interview.?
According to cbc.ca, Mellissa was kidnapped on October 12 after she was leaving a refugee camp in a dangerous Taliban-controlled region of Wardak province west of Kabul.? This was Mellissa?s second trip to Afghanistan and she had been there almost a month with she was abducted after a van pulled up beside her and she was forced inside, all this just blocks from a police station.
Held in a small underground cell in which she could barely stand, Mellissa was kept blindfolded, and in the final week her hands and feet were chained.
Her safe recovery is being attributed in part to the media blackout that was agreed upon several weeks ago following her capture.? (A media ?blackout? means that all participating news networks agree not to write anything about a story in question).? News blackouts occur when the safety of those involved in the story could be jeopardized if the information is released to the public via a news story.? In this case, I assume that the blackout had to do with the potential for Mellissa?s captors to request a ransom.
This story has really affected me, not only because I have met Mellissa and admire her approach and commitment to journalism, but because it reminds me of the risk that so many reporters make as they pursue stories in war-torn regions.? They risk their lives to bring you and I the stories and images from the safety of our living rooms. ?
As professional badminton players, we have the luxury of pursuing our career goals and dreams without putting our safety in immediate danger.?
Today, I?m especially grateful for that. ?
|Posted by Anna Rice on November 5, 2008 at 12:39 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted by Anna Rice on October 30, 2008 at 12:25 PM||comments (5)|