Yip Pui-yin eyes one more Asian Games medal before retiring
Hong Kong's top female player is hungry for another podium place at Asian Games
Yip Pui-yin may be preparing for life after badminton, but Hong Kong's leading women's player says she can still challenge for medals at the Asian Games in Incheon next month.
"I have to think about life after sport because I am not young anymore, but my passion for badminton remains the same as when I first turned to full-time training 10 years ago," said Yip, who turns 27 on Wednesday.
"I started some things recently outside of my sporting career, but my focus remains firmly on badminton as I want to challenge myself in the sport once again."
Yip, who won a silver medal in Doha in 2006 and a bronze in Guangzhou four years ago, said she had suspended her studies at the Institute of Education and cut back time spent at a bakery she started with a partner.
"I am now training six days a week and mentally and physically I am still capable of competing at the highest level.
"Of course, my attacking game may not be as powerful as before, but I have become wiser in my tactics as I have gotten older. I have also improved my consistency which has hampered me in the past, although I still need to do better," she said.
Yip, ranked 24th in the world, is happy with her form after reaching the semi-finals at her last tournament in Taipei where she was beaten by promising mainlander Liu Xin.
"Other than those traditional powerhouses such as China, South Korea and Japan, countries like Thailand and India are also coming through the ranks, making the [Asian Games] draw much more difficult than four years ago."
Meanwhile, the arrival of new coach Luan Jin has raised the hopes of the men's team. Luan was the first Chinese shuttler to win the prestigious All England Championship in 1983.
"Hong Kong still has a gap to make up against top nations as the number of elite players in the pool is still not enough," said Luan, who was the Singapore men's team coach before arriving in Hong Kong. "There needs to be strong internal competition to push the players to become real professionals."
Hu Yun, who beat China's Chen Long in the Japan Open semi-finals before losing to Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia for the singles title, remains the main hope for the men's event.
Mixed doubles hopes rest with Lee Chun-hei and Chau Hoi-wah, who have dropped out of the world's top 10.