Badminton Life

Canadian Rice Out to Make Singles Impact In Beijing

Canada's Anna Rice will be going solo at the Olympics in her bid for a good run at the Beijing Games.

Rice participated at the Athens Games in 2004 as a women's doubles player, but this year in Beijing, she will be fighting it out with the world's leading players in the women's singles competition.

The world number 30, who is also an ambassador for human rights group Right to Play, is currently training and living in Denmark as she prepares for the Olympics.

"Singles is what I really want to play and I've improved," she told North Shore News. "I'm at a point where I can really be a threat. That's exciting but it's also an added pressure because Beijing will not just be a go along for the ride type of thing."

She said that, despite playing doubles in Athens, her experience from four years ago will put her in good stead for her assault on the Beijing women's singles title.

"For me, in a sport like badminton where you do peak maybe a little later, I'm finding it hugely valuable that I've been to Athens and I know what to expect, more in terms of the potential distractions," said Rice.

"Of course you will have that kind of overwhelmed, 'Wow, I'm at the Olympics,' but having been through that and also having seen the players on the Canadian team who had been to Sydney before Athens, I could see their maturity and how that helped to keep them on track and focused on what they are there to do, which is to play their best badminton.

"So I think it's going to be really an asset for me that I've gone through that kind of wide-eyed Olympic experience before."

Rice said she has made several trips to Asia to get used to the conditions she is likely to face. Apart from that, she knows that the Asian players are the favourites and she has to know their style of play if she is to be successful.

She said: "You want your preparation and everything to be as you most know it. You want it to be as under your control as possible.

"I go to Asia a lot to compete and it will be important to still keep in that mentality that at the end of the day it is still a badminton tournament.

"Of course it's the most prestigious sporting event but I have to go in there with the same mentality that I do in any other tournament."

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