Hong Kong-born Michelle Li eyes return to the city from Canada

The local-born world No 31 says she lacks support and opportunity to improve her skills

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 11:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 11:07pm

A lack of support in Canada coupled with more playing opportunities here may tempt Hong Kong-born Michelle Li Man-shan to return to the city from North America.

The 22-year-old, here for the Hong Kong Open Super Series, is the top player in Canada, winning the singles and doubles events at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Li, who migrated to the North American country at the age of six, also finished fourth in the women's doubles at the 2012 London Games , the best Canadian finish in badminton at the Olympics.

But I need more playing opportunities at the top level to become a better player and that's why I want to move back to Hong Kong
Michelle Li

With a ranking of 31 in the singles, she wants more playing opportunities to improve her world standing, but a lack of government support has hindered her development at the highest level of the sport.

"We don't receive much support from the government and therefore cannot take part in many tournaments because the expenses are coming from our own pockets," she said.

"But I need more playing opportunities at the top level to become a better player and that's why I want to move back to Hong Kong," she added.

Unlike many other professionals who stay in the official hotel, Li will stay with relatives in Hong Kong during the entire competition.

She had a chance to come back two years ago, but decided to stay in Canada after knowing she had qualified for the London Olympic Games.

"I will make up my mind in six months, as I still have some commercial sponsorship deals to settle if I come back to Hong Kong," she said.

Hong Kong head coach Tim He Yiming said he would welcome Li if she intended to come back to the city.

"She has a strong physique with good skills. Her body co-ordination also fits badminton," said the coach. "Her arrival can strengthen our women's team and provide more competition for our players."

Top Hong Kong player Yip Pui-yin is ranked 22 in the world, followed by Chan Tze-ka (28).

Hu Yun, meanwhile, is hoping for a good result in the men's singles at the Hong Kong Open this week at the Coliseum in Hung Hom. He hopes to strengthen his chances of making it to the Super Series finals in Kuala Lumpur.

"I reached the quarter-finals at the China Open last week and if I can get some good results here again, I should qualify for the finals," said Hu.

The veteran is currently ranked ninth in the Super Series standings with only the top eight qualifying for the finals.