Thread: Anna Rice
08-12-2008, 04:45 AM #1
SPOTLIGHT : Anna Rice Gets Creative to Fund her Olympic Quest
With Beijing now just days away already the hype and spectacle that surrounds the world’s greatest sporting event has kicked into gear. The multi million dollar sponsorship deals are all signed, sealed and delivered as the world’s media gears itself up for the greatest show on earth. The badminton event at this year’s Olympics has been the first event to sell out in its entirety and being in China, the University of Technology Gymnasium is sure to be the place to be come August 9th. But let’s not forget about the athletes in all of this, the players who have for the past two years travelled all over the world in search of those invaluable points to secure their berth on the plane to China. As professional badminton players, the vast majority of them have toiled, sweated, worked and even borrowed to finance their Olympic Dreams and Anna Rice, the Pan American Champion and world number 32, is no exception.
her website, www.annarice.org
08-12-2008, 05:17 AM #2
Rice laments her sport's lack of funding, profile as she exits Beijing
August 12, 2008
BEIJING -- On the heels of a relentless pounding from high-ranking Chinese star Lu Lan, Canadian badminton ace Anna Rice called for more government funding for her sport.
Rice was ousted in straight sets, 21-7, 21-12, after reaching the final 16, the best Olympic badminton result by a Canadian woman since 1992.
Lu, yet another of the host country's seemingly inexhaustible stable of world-class players in a sport China has come to dominate, was simply too much for the Canadian, scoring points all over the court with both power and finesse.
Afterward, bathed in sweat from the exertion and hot-house court conditions, Rice said Canada has a long way to go before being able to compete successfully against China's badminton elite.
While recreational badminton, with its wobbly backyard nets and cheap racquets, is popular in Canada, government funding to encourage more Canadians to compete at an international level is relatively meagre, according to Rice.
"Like any sport, it takes money to create opportunities, and more and more countries are streamlining funds to where the medals are. I think that's sad."
Yet badminton is an excellent sport to help combat the growing problem of obesity in Canada "because it combines a really good physical workout with a lot of fun," Rice said. "And it can be enjoyed by grandkids playing with their grandparents. Not many sports have that kind of broad social range."
The bright, articulate native of North Vancouver, B.C., who will turn 28 in another week, barely breaks even financially, despite playing professional badminton in Denmark.
A way has to be found to parlay the sport's recreational popularity into success at the elite level, she said.
As for her own match on Monday, Rice called it a bittersweet loss.
She had hoped to give Lu more of a challenge, but having to win two difficult matches to reach the final 16 took a toll. Lu, on the other hand, won her only previous match on a walkover.
"The expectation was there for me to pull an upset, but she was solid, and I respect her for her performance. So I'm disappointed, but at the same time, it's been a good run, and I think we've shown China and the world that Canada can be a contender in the future in badminton."
Lu, a lithe, agile and powerful 20-year old, is seeded third in the tournament and is expected to be part of a six-medal sweep by Chinese women in badminton singles and doubles.
With a raucous, patriotic home crowd cheering every point, Lu made quick work of Rice in the first set. But the Canadian, a gold medalist at the Pan American Games last year, picked up her game in the second set and made more of a match of it, at one point narrowing the gap to 14-11, before Lu pulled away.
There was even more bedlam from the spectators directed at the court beside the Rice-Lu contest. That's where spiky-haired badminton superstar Lin Dan, whose personal life is often fodder for the Chinese tabloids, was playing his first match in men's singles.
For a foreigner, playing badminton in China against a Chinese champion is like playing in the Montreal Forum against the Montreal Canadiens during the Habs' glory years, and Rice relished the experience, despite the outcome.
"I was ready for the crowd," Rice said. "I've played here before and they really get going. But it's also exciting - the thrill of playing the Olympics in China and being a badminton player. ... It was an honour to be out there today. ... It was really overwhelming and something I'll remember my whole life."
Rice has likely competed in her last Olympics. She said she is committed to next year's world championship in India, and no more.
She earned her master's degree in communications for international development at Malmo University in Sweden and is a member of the activist athletes' organization Right to Play, which attempts to use sport for social change.
I really feel sorry the players in western countries whose governments are not supportive towards the sports. It pretty much 'kills' the talent and restrict the player's growth.
But some countries are exception, such as Denmark and England
08-12-2008, 05:17 AM #3
Anna Rice embraces badminton 'ambience' in Beijing
Vancouver native overcomes death of grandmother to leave tourney with no regrets
For Anna Rice, there's no shame in losing.
Rice, who turns 28 next week, bowed out of the women's badminton competition at the Beijing Gameson on Monday, dropping a straight-set decision to China's Lu Lan.
Despite the loss, the Vancouver native and two-time Olympian leaves the tournament with no regrets, as she felt privileged to compete in a country where badminton is heralded and followed passionately by fans.
RIP Anna's Grandma
10-18-2008, 04:06 PM #4
2008 all england
anna rice vs pi hongyan
anna has great stamina, if only she got better coaching on strokes
even pi HY got pooped out but of course not enough to beat Pi
10-19-2008, 01:22 AM #5
Rice hopes that her performance in Beijing will lead to a greater appreciation for badminton among Canadian sports fans, as well as inspire the next generation of Canadian players.
"Somebody asked me after the match why is China so good [at badminton] and why isn't Canada so good, and I said they believe they can be the best in the world, while we grow up and believe we can be top hockey players, but we don't grow up thinking we can be No. 1 in the world of badminton," said Rice.
"They do that here in China starting at two or three years of age. It's a very deep, social conscience here, and the more we can [adapt] that in Canada with badminton, the more youngsters will succeed."
10-23-2008, 04:25 PM #6
anna losing to a veteran zhou mi 21-19 21-16 at the denmark open is quite respectable for a canadian gal.
11-10-2008, 02:12 PM #7
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