Badminton Life

Aussie Bound for Beijing

The five players selected by the Committee know there may be no expectations to return from the major event with medals and triumphant stories but the chance to represent your nation at such an event is a great privilege.

The lucky players who will be travelling to Beijing to represent Australia are Glenn Warfe, Ross Smith, Tania Luiz, Eugenia Tanaka and Stuart Gomez. Warfe and Smith will be competing in the Men's Doubles event whereas the Women's Doubles event will feature Luiz and Tanaka.

Stuart Gomez will be the sole representative in the Men's Singles competition. None of the players who are representing Australia at the Olympics have any past Olympic experience but three of the five have played at the Commonwealth Games.

Glenn Warfe, Ross Smith and Tania Luiz all played at the 2006 Commonwealth Games which were held in Melbourne. This has not only gave the players a grounding in the preparation required for a major event but as there was host nation expectation on the players, they will have experienced a high level of pressure. The expectations may not be as much on the Australian players this time around but no doubt the players will be wanting to perform as well as they can.

There is also the greater element of the Olympic spirit and tradition to be upheld. In today's modern world, all of the attention and focus is placed upon the favourites and those expected to claim medals but the event is truly about everyone performing at their best and providing a sporting spectacle for the entire world. If the Australian team returns home with a triumph at Beijing it will be one of the biggest sporting upsets but that doesn't mean the players should not dream of doing exactly that.

The competitive nature of Australian people when it comes to sporting events ensures that there will be no easy matches for opponents of the Aussie badminton team but the team is honest enough to state they will be considered outsiders in many of their matches.

There is an acceptance that the domination of the sport by teams such as China, Indonesia and Great Britain will continue this summer in Beijing. This is unlikely to change in the event which starts in August but all it takes is a little bit of luck and perhaps some big players having an off day before things change. It may require a lot of things to go in their favour but in sport, who knows?

No one genuinely expects to see any Australian players on the badminton podiums but no matter what happens, it will be an event that the players will be able to tell their friends and family about for the rest of their lives. And it is this spirit that the Olympics are truly about as opposed to the constant striving for gold medals and improved sponsorship deals.

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