Prince Rupert’s Adrian Liu is about to get a taste of international competition the likes of which he hasn’t seen since the 2011 Pan American Games.
Liu and his badminton doubles partner, Derrick Ng, will descend upon Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games. While they’re there, they’ll be based out of the athletes’ village.
“We’ve been to a few of the world championships and higher tournaments … so we kind of know what to expect, but at the same time it’s going to be different because it’s a multi-sport competition,” said Liu.
“It’s also a lot more difficult.”
The Commonwealth Games, held every four years, features competing countries from the old British Empire (71 in total). In 2010, Canada finished fourth in the medal count behind Australia, England and India. There will be 265 Canadians competing – the country’s largest contingent ever for a games held outside Canada.
After competing in the US Open Badminton Championships in New York and the Canada Open in Vancouver in July, Liu and Ng have gotten into the swing of international competition.
They’ll be in tough to medal, as formidable opponents from England, Malaysia and Singapore are traditionally the favourites to go all the way during the games, which run from July 23 to Aug. 3.
Liu and Ng, ranked 76th in the world in men’s doubles by the Badminton World Federation, have partnered before and are consistently one of Canada’s top pairs in arguably the fastest racquet sport in the world.
“We’ve seen a lot of [the competition] when we go to the bigger tournaments like the All-England [Open] or the world champs,” said Liu.
“It’s a pretty slow start right now because we’re just getting back into the tournament season so we haven’t been tournament-active lately. I guess we’re more focused on generating money so we can save up for the 2015 long haul of tournaments.”
The 2015 Pan American Games, to be held in Toronto from July 10-26 will highlight the crop of competitions Liu will participate in.
“The home crowd will be big for that one,” said Liu.
Badminton is featured during 11 days of the Commonwealth Games and hosts six categories of competition: men’s and women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles and a combined mixed team event. Canadian Michelle Li is perhaps the country’s best shot at a badminton medal. She’s ranked 20th in the world in women’s singles and just won the Canada Open Grand Prix as well as reaching the quarter-finals in the 2014 All England Open and US Open.
“Some players are pretty seasoned,” said Liu.
“She has a chance to medal.”
Liu and Ng fell in that same Canada Open in the quarter-finals to Max Schwenger and Josche Zurwonne of Germany. They made the round of 16 at the US Open before losing to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-yu and Wu Hsiao-lin.
“[I just want to] enjoy the moment and soak it all in,” said Liu, who will be coached by Vancouver’s Ram Nayyar.
After the games, Liu will travel to Denmark to train for a month to prepare for the world championships in Copenhagen in late August.