TORONTO (June 12, 2019) – Badminton Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced that eight badminton players have been nominated to represent Canada at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games this summer.
Four women and four men have qualified to compete in the 2019 Pan American Games for Team Canada based on a combination of their world ranking, and results at multiple events throughout the year. With the Pan American Games being a 2020 Olympic qualifying event, Badminton Canada will use the multi-sport Games as an opportunity to earn points towards Tokyo qualification.
The team brings a wealth of international and multi-sport Games experience, led by Michelle Li (Markham, Ont.) who is the defending 2015 Pan American Games Women’s Singles Champion, and currently sits 15th in the world. The 27-year-old also represented Canada at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games – winning gold in 2014.
“I am always proud to represent Canada, and the Pan Am Games is something I am looking forward to,” said Michelle Li. “Especially with this event counting toward Olympic Qualification, everyone will bring their best performance – I will do the same and try to defend the title.”
Li will be joined by 2018 Commonwealth Games teammates, Jason Ho-Shue, Nyl Yakura, Brian Yang, Rachel Honderich, and Kristen Tsai, all Yonex National Team members and 2019 National Champions.
Brian Yang (Richmond Hill, Ont.) is a 17-year old National Champion, Youth Olympic gold medallist, and is currently the 4th best Men’s Singles U-19 player in the world. Recently, he has defeated the Pan Am Champions internationally, and looks to show his talents on a larger stage.
“Team Canada has a very realistic shot of winning gold in each event, and that’s our goal,” said Mike Butler, National Team head coach. “Many of our athletes representing Canada are already Pan Am Champions. Now it’s time to step up and perform together at the Games in Lima.”
Over the past year, Canada has been seeing its best results in badminton history. Most notably, the Women’s Team finishing top 8 at the 2018 Thomas & Uber Cup, winning four of five events at the XXIII Pan Am Championships in Lima this winter, along with being 2019 Sudirman Cup Group 2 Champions.
“The results internationally have been phenomenal. The athletes are performing at the right time and are defeating top players consistently,” said Badminton Canada high performance director, Jordan Bridal. “Olympic qualifying events are so important, especially within our own region. The combination of the two will only produce the best competition, and I am confident our Canadian’s will come out on top.”
Lima 2019, which will run from July 26 to August 11, will bring together approximately 6,700 athletes from 41 nations of the Americas and feature 62 disciplines in 39 sports. It will be the largest sporting event ever held in Peru. The badminton event will commence on July 29th, with Finals being played on August 2nd 2019.
The athletes and coach nominated are:
Jason Ho-Shue (Markham, Ont.)
Joshua Hurlburt-Yu (Scarborough, Ont.)
Nyl Yakura (Pickering, Ont.)
Brian Yang (Toronto, Ont.)
Rachel Honderich (Toronto, Ont.)
Michelle Li (Markham, Ont.)
Kristen Tsai (Surrey, B.C.)
Josephine Wu (Edmonton, Alta.)
Mike Butler (St. John, N.B.)
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the COC’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations in late June 2019.
Story and Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee