It’s not easy holding the destiny of your country’s sporting hopes in your own hands and it’s a little different for Sidney Crosby and Carey Price than it is for Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng, but that’s no diminishment to the feat the two pulled off this past month at both the Pan-American Badminton Championships in Markham and the YONEX USA International Challenge in Orlando.
In light of helping pull Canada out of a 2-0 hole in the team event at the Pan-Ams, Liu was able to relive the moments that contributed to his team win, and capturing his third-straight men’s doubles title at the event – a feat no singles player or doubles team has ever accomplished at the tournament.
“Derrick and I have been in this situation quite a few times where we had to be the ‘closers’ for the team,” said Liu last week.
“After the Americans were up 2-0, we were a bit shocked as we had never been in that situation in awhile for the team event. So when we were preparing for our match after Michelle [Li] was securing our first point with her women’s singles, we discussed how we would start the match off so we were feeling more prepared rather than nervous or anxious.”
In a tournament like that one, it’s hard for the athletes not to get ahead of themselves and think of the match beyond the one currently facing them, and it’s something the duo of Liu and Ng had to consciously fight.
“It’s always difficult not to look forward to the next round before actually playing the round you need to play. But we were really focused this time on each match instead of thinking about the next. We had a close one against a different Guatemalan team in April at the Peru International so we were anxious to redeem ourselves and show them that we were there to win,” said Liu.
Unfortunately for Team Canada, there wasn’t much time to savour the victory in Markham, even with the crowd behind them, as the athletes were a little preoccupied for what was on the horizon.
“After the team event we had to wait for the medal presentation which ran really late as we had to wait until all the matches were finished. So we didn’t celebrate at all after as some of the players on the team had to prepare for the individual event which started the next morning at 10 a.m. so it was kind of anti-climactic but at the same time it kept us focused on the individuals,” said Liu.
Still, the team got some time together.
“We spent every meal together as a team which helped us bond … that probably had a large part in our success,” he added.