Pan Am gold medallist Michelle Li back on court

On Friday, Pan Am Games gold medallist Michelle Li played her first match since dropping out in the first round of the Japan Open, becoming the second of three continental […]

On Friday, Pan Am Games gold medallist Michelle Li played her first match since dropping out in the first round of the Japan Open, becoming the second of three continental finalists to end a post-Olympic hiatus.

Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (archives)

Canada’s Michelle Li played her first full match since the Rio Olympics on Friday.  In September, she retired partway through a match with Chisato Hoshi, then withdrew from the subsequent Korea Open.  According to a report last month from the Canadian Press, Li had been diagnosed prior to the Olympics with “two labral tears in her hip, a tear in her patellar tendon in her knee and a stress fracture in her foot” and she decided in October to have on the hip and knee, while the stress fracture was left to heal on its own during her recovery from the .

In Rio, Li lost to eventual silver medallist and current world #3 Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, whom the Canadian had narrowly beaten twice at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.  On Friday, she had returned to South America still the top seed at the Peru and after a first-round bye, she won handily both her second round match against Maria Delia Zambrano of Ecuador and her quarter-final against Mexico’s Haramara Gaitan.  She is now in the semi-final with Samia Lima of Brazil, as she gets set to compete as the top seed in the Pan American Badminton Championships next week in Cuba.

Michelle Li is not the only player to take a post-Rio break, of course.  In addition to the many high-profile post-Olympic retirements, two continental women’s singles finalists took extended breaks.  Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, the European Championship silver medallist, ended her hiatus in January by winning the Austrian International Challenge.  Asian Championship runner-up Li Xuerui of China, who conceded the bronze medal to Nozomi Okuhara with a walkover, was slated to return this week as well, but after being entered in the China Masters Grand Prix Gold event, she subsequently withdrew.  Although the London gold medallist is on the list for the upcoming Sudirman Cup, it remains to be seen when she will actually make her return to court.

Related Images:

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net