Be Bigger Than Your Problems

As a Canadian athlete in a National Team sport, we are eligible to apply for government funding through Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program. Badminton Canada publishes criteria which are approved by Sport Canada each year, and all National Team members are eligible to compete for these limited funding spots. Although there may be up to 12 National Team members each year, there are only typically five funding spots. This process creates a very competitive environment for this source of funding.

In the previous season (May 1, 2014 – April 30, 2015), I was not receiving any funding, but I continued competing as much as possible because Canada was hosting the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, and I wanted to be there. I competed in 13 tournaments that year, and achieved a world ranking of 31, qualified for the Pan Am Games and won a silver medal in Mixed Doubles for Canada.

Unfortunately, a World Ranking of 31 was not enough to meet the published criteria (I needed to be ranked 30) to be eligible for funding this year. However, this should not have been the case. I competed at the 2014 Brazil International Cup in October 2014 and received a semi-final result. World rankings for badminton are based on a player’s/team’s top 10 tournament results within a rolling calendar year, but the Badminton World Federation (BWF) allowed Brazil to host a second tournament a few months later in March 2015, which negated the results of the tournament in October 2014 without adequate notice. Badminton Canada immediately appealed this decision to the BWF; however, the appeal was declined.  The BWF released a statement indicating that although the World Ranking points were removed, perhaps there were some players who would still compete for prize money.

To shed some perspective to that statement, it would be saying that I paid $3000 to play a tournament to potentially win a maximum of $900, “just for fun”. This would be something like taking a university course which was supposed to count toward your degree, but after you finished the class, the university decided that they would make a retroactive change and not count your course for any credits, and not give a refund either because some people could still learn something from the course. If the result from October 2014 was included into my World Ranking, I would have reached Top 30 and would have met the published criteria.

In June 2015, Badminton Canada nominated me for Sport Canada funding even though I did not meet the exact published criteria. However, due to Sport Canada’s policy on irregular nominations (anything that deviates from published criteria), I was deemed ineligible for funding by Sport Canada. In terms of overall results from the previous year, I ranked 2nd overall in results of other Canadian badminton players; however, as I am approaching my 6th year of funding, the criteria stated that I needed to achieve a Top 30 World Ranking, which I was unable to achieve on paper, within the qualifying period. Since then, I have achieved a ranking as high as 23 after the 2015 Pan American Games. Despite Badminton Canada’s efforts, Sport Canada maintains their policy on irregular nominations which are applied to all sports. Unfortunately, I happen to be the person affected the most because I will now be facing an Olympic qualifying year without Sport Canada funding.

So I have to ask myself a serious question. Do I still want to struggle, or should I just take the easy way out and quit while I’m still ahead? Before the start of the Olympic qualification period, I told my partner, Alexandra Bruce, that I would quit if I didn’t get funding. And now 5 months into the qualification period, I won’t be getting any funding from Sport Canada, which means I’m missing $18 000 during my Olympic qualification year. That’s a huge problem. However, I’ve learned that I need to be “bigger than my problems.” I need to find a way to be bigger than $18 000. It’s a significant hurdle, but it’s not insurmountable. I just need to find a way to be “bigger than $18 000”.

And that’s why I need your help. In Chinese, an expression people use to encourage others is to say “Jia you!” which literally translates to “Add Fuel”. Funding is more or less a fuel for me to continue competing for Canada, and I need help in acquiring ‘fuel’ to continue. If I can get enough revenue through crowdfunding, or better yet, “CROWD FUELING”, I can keep on competing. Help me and become a part of my story: the struggle to represent Canada on the greatest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics.

It will no longer be my story. It will be OUR story…

… because I also want to do something for you! I have included various health & wellness challenges, depending on how serious you take your own health. Depending on the donation, you will get access to different levels of health challenges, from those who just want to get started, those who are serious about their health, and deluxe packages for those who take their health as a top priority.

In addition to the added health benefits of completing the challenges, I will also award an additional wellness consult (or badminton lesson, your choice) and a certificate of completion! My hope is to make this process engaging and individualized, as I have created many different health packages to cater to individual preferences.

We can become greater than our problems, especially when we work together.

Thank you and I hope to be waving to you all at the opening ceremonies at the Olympics next summer! Be on the lookout for my campaign, coming soon!

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