Xu Huaiwen: "Never give up trying"
Date: 3/16/2013 10:25 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

Xu Huaiwen was born in Guiyang, China. She decided to play for Germany because the Chinese thought that she was too short to play professional badminton. Huaiwen went on to become one of the most successful women in the history of European badminton. She was a women's singles bronze medalist twice at the BWF World Championships (2005 and 2006) and won the European Championships in 2006 and 2008. Xu retired from playing on the international circuit in 2009 and worked as a coach in the US and the Netherlands.

We spoke to her about the BEC Summer School, her biggest victories and bitter defeats - and she reveals to us a person she finds inspiring.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Huaiwen, what are you doing after you stopped as a national coach in the Netherlands?

Xu Huaiwen:
Together with my fiancé, I moved to Glasgow, Scotland last October. He got a job for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games organization. And I am currently working for the Scottish National Junior Squad. I am giving training sessions for 10 to 12 hours a week.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Are you looking forward to the BEC Summer School where you are going to work as a Staff Coach?

I was not involved at the BEC Summer School yet. So I am looking very much forward to Vejen. I think I can contribute but also learn a lot of things for myself. And on the other hand, I am looking forward to meet my old coach Jeroen van Dijk and his family in Denmark again.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What would you consider as your biggest success in your player career?

Huaiwen: Of course, I was happy with all my titles and wins, but the bronze medal at the BWF World Championships 2005 in Anaheim was my biggest achievement. I was so happy to win a medal at the World Championships. A great moment.

At the Olympic Games in Athens, I was not playing well. I was really considering stopping my career. I remember the moment when I was at the spectator’s seats in Athens and thought about calling it a day.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What was your biggest disappointment?

My most bitter defeat was at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. I lost in quarter-finals to Xie Xingfang of China. I was leading in both games, but I lost in two tight games. I fought and gave everything – but in the end I only felt a big disappointment.  There have been 95 percent Chinese people in the arena to support Xingfang. It was very tough for me.

BADMINTON EUROPE: How did you deal with defeats?

Huaiwen: It’s quite usual that athletes have to deal with wins and losses. I have the attitude to allow myself making mistakes. But I always have to learn from those mistakes that they don’t happen again. In my playing times, I found it – for example - very useful to work with video analyzes.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What makes you stronger: A bitter defeat or a big win?

: As a person, I always have a sense of urgency, either during my whole badminton career or now. Whether I won or lost a game, I always had the same attitude. That is, learning from my mistakes and working harder to achieve my next goal.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Do you have any hobby?

Huaiwen: I don't really have many hobbies. I enjoy hiking because I love the natural sceneries. We are planning to visit Highland this summer.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Do you have any recommendation to other young girl’s players on how to achieve your very personal goal?

Huaiwen: I would say, if you are passionate about badminton, you should never give up trying. Top sport is not for everyone. You need to be driven, determined and persistent to reach your goal. However, if one gives the best of her/his effort, he/she will be rewarded.  What I found helpful is that athletes should set themselves goals and enjoy the process of reaching them. The benefit from badminton is not only limited in results and a good health, but also the fighting spirit which helps us in any aspects of our life.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Do you have any person you look up to?

When I was young, I idolized Li Ling Wei. She was the best woman’s badminton player in 1980’. She almost won all the titles in the singles and doubles events. Now, she is a member of IOC.  I still remember that my mom collected all newspaper articles about Li Ling Wei for me. Even today, I still have a great respect for her achievements.

Photo by BadmintonPhoto.

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