Badminton Life

Canada's Beres Looks Forward to Third Olympics

Canadian Mike Beres will be celebrating a special achievement when he lines up for the Olympic Games badminton competition in Beijing next month.

The veteran 35-year-old would be playing in his third consecutive Games after qualifying for the 2008 Games in the mixed doubles event thanks to his perseverance over the past year.

During that time, Beres took part in 23 tournaments all over the world in order to garner enough points to qualify for Beijing.

The doubles specialist has spent thousands of dollars in his efforts to qualify, travelling around the world and picking up prize money here and there. But he said it has been worth it.

"As a badminton player, it's difficult to qualify and each time it's a struggle," he said in the Ottawa Citizen. "I feel privileged to qualify that many times. But I almost didn't qualify (for Beijing). You think it would get easier after the first two times."

Indeed, it has been a difficult road to the Beijing Games for Beres, who along with partner William Milroy are ranked 31 in the world in men's doubles.

Just six months after he started his qualifying campaign, he was told by Canada's government-funded Athlete Assistance Program that his monthly allowance of $1,500 was being lost.

It wasn't helped by the fact that he narrowly failed to gain a top-16 ranking in mixed doubles that would have maintained his international status. At the time, Beres and his mixed doubles partner Valerie Loker was told their Olympic hopes had ended.

"I was more or less told to move on," Beres was quoted as saying.

However, he was determined not to give up. He soldiered on, hoping to gain entry via the men's doubles competition. However, as it turned out, the pair also failed to win a place in Beijing.

It took some dallying by their rivals from America, who had won a spot in the mixed doubles but took their time in choosing a pair, that helped Beres and Loker, ranked 66th, earn their place in Beijing.

Although they are not expected to win a medal, Beres, at least, will be treasuring a rare third appearance in an Olympic Games.

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