With the pandemic-related restrictions starting to ease across the Oceania region, Badminton Oceania caught up with Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen, reigning six-time continental champion in women’s singles and two-time Australian Olympian, to find out about recent developments and preparation for upcoming events. Could she extend her record-breaking run at the upcoming VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022 (28 April to 1 May) to seven consecutive wins?

You competed in your second Olympics last year. What has your journey been like since then?

The journey after the Olympics has been fulfilling. I started to travel for tournaments around the world again and some experiences were very insightful. I’m happy to keep on playing at this stage, as I enjoy playing badminton and the growth it brings me. Paris (2024) is definitely in the picture.

This year you are aiming for your seventh consecutive women’s singles Oceania title. What does this mean to you?

The Oceania Championships has always been quite meaningful to me ever since I was a kid. I remember holding onto the engraving plate, looking through the names of winners for each year and thinking that I want to have my name on it one day. It will be incredible if I could have my name there seven times!

You have been the favourite in women’s singles title for many years. How do you handle the pressure?

I have to admit that for the past few Oceania Championships, I felt quite stressful because of the expectation to win, especially from myself. But this year, I have a different perspective, treating every match as an experience, always something to learn from whether it is a win or a loss. I am motivated to defend my title but have loosen up the pressure I put on myself.

What have preparations looked like following COVID?

It is very interesting to return to competition, a lot of protocols to follow (vaccination, health declaration, masks, tests) in traveling between countries and tournaments. Definitely too much nose-poking (PCR tests) but other than that it’s all pretty much back to normal.

The Commonwealth Games are coming up soon. What tournaments or training have you planned to prepare for this?

The schedule is quite busy leading up to Commonwealth Games, there are the Australian National Championships, Oceania Championships, Uber Cup and more tournaments back in Europe again in June. I’m excited to play in the Uber Cup with my teammates.

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