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China's Olympic badminton gold medalist Chen Yufei fears no challenge

Sports Scene


As badminton's reigning women's singles gold medalist from the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Chen Yufei of China is aiming to defend her honor at Paris 2024.

Chinese women's singles shuttlers have performed well to win a series of major international tournaments, including the Tokyo Olympics and Uber Cup, since coach Luo Yigang took over six years ago, and four of the top-eight players at the Badminton World Federation's Olympic qualification tournament were from China.

Since each national badminton association can send no more than two players to either singles event at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, team officials decided that Chen and He Bingjiao will compete in the women's singles event on behalf of China.

"I have been in my comfort zone since I won the women's singles Olympic gold medal," Chen told the China Media Group (CMG). "I haven't been able to achieve any major breakthrough since then. I have lost many matches by no more than two points. Those matches looked close and I seemed to be working hard, but I just couldn't win. It had nothing to do with my stamina. I just lacked enough will to win."

"Chen wants to win her second gold in Paris, but I can feel that something has changed with her mindset," coach Luo said. "She may not handle it well when difficulties grow too big for her. That's one of my concerns."

One of Chen's biggest challenges at Paris 2024 will be facing World No. 1 An Se-young of South Korea.

"An Se-young is one of the main opponents for us," Luo told CMG. "She may not be as aggressive as she used to be before suffering an injury at the Asian Games, but no one has 100-percent confidence in beating An in a women's singles match, even after she slows down."

"I think An reads the match better than before and better than I do," Chen said. "She understands the sport well. She always chooses the right tactics and reads her opponent's plays correctly. She knows exactly how to win the match."

Chen wants to defend her title at Paris 2024, but says she wants to enjoy badminton as well. The key, according to her, is to find a balance between staying confident and maintaining a relaxed mindset.

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