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On comeback trail, Li Xuerui eyes 2020 Tokyo Olympics high

Li Xuerui is aiming a top finish at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships here in her maiden appearance despite the presence of India’s Saina Nehwal.

other sports Updated: Nov 22, 2018 20:20 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Li Xuerui,Li Xuerui badminton,Badminton
Xuerui Li of China celebrates a point win over Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand.

On a comeback trail, 2012 London Olympics champion Li Xuerui wants to rise to the top again at the 2020 Tokyo Games. And for that she is putting in all the hard work and not missing any opportunity to improve her world ranking.

For the Chinese shuttler, her ranking will make all the difference for her to make the cut for 2020 Tokyo as she needs success regularly. The former world No.1 is aiming a top finish at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships here in her maiden appearance despite the presence of India’s Saina Nehwal.

“I was out of action for almost 600 days due to injury but for me now the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the ultimate mission,” Xuerui said with the help of a translator, soon after winning her pre-quarterfinal against India’s Shreyanshi Pardesi in straight games on Thursday.

Incheon Asian Games silver medallist, Xuerui had lost to Spain’s Carolina Marin at the 2016 Rio Olympics after suffering an injury on her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral meniscus. This also forced her to withdraw from the bronze medal match against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.

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“I was away from the game but I never lost my focus. I kept myself updated about what was happening in the badminton world and was trying hard to recover from my injuries. My family, friends and above all my coach kept motivating me for a comeback.”

“During recovery, I was also busy on societal network, discussing the game and progress of world badminton. I was connected to my fans, who kept motivating me to make a comeback.”

The two-time World Championship runner-up, confessed that she had to undergo a strict schedule for recovery.

“Injury was unfortunate but I didn’t lose heart,” said the Chinese, who after staging a comeback to the international arena this April has won three titles so far China Masters, US Open and Canada Open.

“It was a nervous start after my injuries at the China Masters as I felt that everything is quite unfamiliar. But now everything seems fine and I feel fit. I hope to find my rhythm back before the 2020 Olympics,” Xuerui said.

Xuerui’s injury almost ended China’s dominance in world badminton as her compatriots Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian retired soon after.

First Published: Nov 22, 2018 20:20 IST