American Woman Discovers Badminton in China, Dedicates Her Life to the Sport
Meet the 42-year-old American woman who is OBSESSED with badminton
Despite being the second most played sport in the world (next to soccer), badminton is a sport that has yet to take off in America.
Even for some enthusiasts in the country, it is often considered as a “backyard sport.”
This is why it was a pleasant surprise for Becky Ances, an American woman, to discover a whole new world of badminton three years ago while working in China.
Ances, who has been living in a small city outside of Hangzhou since 2009, would get her first “re-introduction” to badminton in 2015 when she moved to Xiamen and started playing with a group of friends on a regular basis.
“I wasn’t hooked immediately at all,” Ances told Shuttlers. “I’m the kind of person that hates sports and hates sweating, but as the weeks went by I suddenly found myself playing more and more because I liked it, not because of my friends.”
After about 4 months of playing, she fell in love with the sport, realizing that “it was more than just a pastime.”
“Not only did I get my first racket but I started looking for a coach,” she revealed.
Ances admits to being obsessed with the sport and is set on becoming a serious badminton player at age 42.
She now shares her journey and passion for the sport on her website Badminton Becky.
Looking back, she revealed that while she enjoyed badminton as a kid, she didn’t realize how big it was outside the U.S. “I thought it was a fun sport and had good memories of playing it in the backyard and with friends in America. I had NO idea it was a real sport and didn’t know it was in the Olympics, or they had badminton courts indoors or anything like that. I really had no idea.”
Ances says her desire to win and play competitively have been her driving force to train hard regularly despite starting relatively late in the game.
“The problem is very few people start playing badminton competitively in their 40’s like me, so everyone in my age bracket has been playing 10-20 years and have a ton of experience. I have a lot of catching up to do so I push myself to play as much as possible to make up for all the lost years.”
Ances tells us that she likes watching the English husband and wife mixed doubles team Chris and Gabrielle Adcock. “I play specifically mixed doubles so I have watched them a lot, and I find Gabby is really a strong female player, and she controls the team, which I like.” According to Ances, there may still be a great chance badminton will become more popular in the U.S. if there are enough professional players that could elevate the sport and represent the country in major international competitions.
She also noted that it can be of great help if more companies can support the sport by providing casual gear and clothes. Average players can also help in raising awareness by introducing the sport to more people. “Unfortunately the average American (like her a decade ago) has no exposure and therefore no idea what a good sport it is.”
Ances says that “as an American, and as a player,” this is the reason she felt that it has become her callingto “preach the badminton gospel.”
“That’s one of the main reasons why I started my blog 3 years ago, and my youtube channel recently, because there needs to be more content created about badminton that can be read, watched and shared. Hopefully more people will hear about the sport and consider trying it out.”
Writing on her blog has allowed her to meet others who are equally passionate of the sport and gave her a chance to interview some of the biggest badminton stars in the world.
She revealed that her favorite interviews were at the semifinals of the 2018 Hong Kong Open when she got to chat with Thai badminton star Ratchanok Intanon and Japanese Olympian Nozomi Okuhara.
“I was most relaxed and they were both incredibly friendly and talkative. I only had a minute to ask them a question as they walked off the court, but I felt like they were happy to spend time answering questions and had thoughtful answers more like a conversation than a formal interview.”
Ances says she also posts videos every Monday and Friday on her YouTube channel Badminton Becky using her unique view on the sport as an “American living in China.”
“I don’t talk just about badminton but badminton in China and being an expat living in another country. Ever since I have lived here I have tried to help bridge the gap between America and China and expel rumors that both countries have about the other. So I see the same mission with badminton. I make my vlogs in a style that hopefully people who don’t play badminton will still find interesting so the sport will gain more exposure and maybe some will try it.“