Badminton Life

Eva Kee Carries American Pride

Most parents appreciate that a past-time or hobby can be an excellent way to keep their children occupied and prevent them from getting into trouble.

There is a saying that the devil will find work for idle hands so giving youngsters something to aim for and to build their confidence can be a great thing. It is therefore extremely pleasing when this childhood hobby turns into a lifetime vocation and this is certainly true for Eva Lee.

The American badminton star would have been hard pushed to believe that one day she would be entering the Olympics but that is exactly what faces her this summer. Lee will be entering all of the badminton events open to her and will be carrying the American dreams in the Womens Singles, Womens Doubles and Mixed Doubles events.

Whether Lee will be able to finish in a medal position is hard to say as she will be the first to admit that the Americans are definitely up against it with the immense quality of the Asian teams playing for Beijing glory. In the recent Uber Cup matches, the American squad was on the receiving end of some serious defeats.

In the group stages at the tournament held in Jakarta, China defeated America 5-0. The scope of their task was highlighted by the fact that Lee was up against Xie Xingfang, the Worlds number one. This defeat was therefore not a surprise but indicates the sort of opposition that will be facing Lee this summer. The USA also suffered a 3-0 defeat to Hong Kong in the knock out stages of the Uber Cup so the squad are not entering on the best form.

These sorts of results could dent a player's confidence but Eva Lee is taking a lot of positives from the performances and believes there may be some added pressure on the Asian players to perform to an expectant crowd. With the Chinese fans and officials placing a lot of expectation and hopes on their badminton team, there is the chance that some of their players may crack under the pressure.

This is where players from other nations will need to be on top form to take advantage of any potential slip up from the favourites. Any signs that the crowd are beginning to get on the back of their heroes will offer an opportunity for their opponents.

Lee will be looking to team up with May Mangkalakiri in the Womens Doubles event and will partner Khan "Bob" Malaythong in the Mixed Doubles. These pairing have already brought glory to Lee as she excelled at the Pan American Games in Brazil in 2007. The quality of opposition will be far higher at the Olympic Games but knowing she has the quality to win events will give Eva Lee every confidence she can do so again.

No one probably truly expects the United States of America to win a medal at the Beijing Olympics; they have not done so since the Olympics recognized badminton as an Olympic medal winning sport but the players have every confidence in their ability.

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