Basel 2019: Chan Ho Yuen wants his moment

Hong Kong badminton player believes its his turn for World Championship gold 08 Aug 2019
male Para badminton player Chan Ho Yuen punches the air after a winning shot
Chan Ho Yuen sprang badminton's biggest surprise of 2018 with victory over Kim Jungjun
ⒸLuis Veniegra Photography
By By Tim Norris | For the IPC

Hong Kong’s Chan Ho Yuen is expected to provide the biggest challenge to South Korea’s reigning world champion Kim Jung Jun at the 2019 Para Badminton World Championships set for 20 August in Basel, Switzerland.

Chan is the only athlete to have beaten Kim in his career, famously ending his seven-year winning run with a 21-14 18-21 21-13 victory at the Australian International in November 2018.

“The historic win against Kim JJ is my greatest achievement so far in Para badminton. It’s not only meaningful to me, but also a great appreciation to my team,” Chan said. “They have done a lot to build me up and it really makes me feel the hard work is paying off. There is no special tactic to win but only working very, very hard. Thanks to Coach Liew for helping me along the way.” 

The pair compete in the men’s singles WH 2 category. 

Reigning world champion Kim Jung Jun is Chan's biggest rival heading into Basel 2019

While Chan lost the most recent meeting between the pair at the Irish International, he came out on top in Canada in May. He is confident of bettering his 2017 World Championships semi-final appearance.

“After the Irish International, I’ve taken time to self-audit and improve my technique, fitness and attitude in games. Therefore, I’m sure I will come back with a stronger me,” Chan said. 

“The real goal is the gold medal,” he continued. “I think this year is the biggest chance ever for me to achieve this goal. I feel I am ready for it.”

Tokyo calling

With Tokyo 2020 qualification points at stake, there is an added incentive this season. The world No. 2 knows how important it is to have a strong tournament.

“As I am not playing in the men’s doubles, there are only two or three singles places to fight for. It’s a really tough task for me but so far, I am doing well,” Chan said. “My aim now is getting qualification for Tokyo 2020. It’s processing well but is still far from guaranteed. Certainly, if I am at Tokyo 2020, a medal, especially a gold one, will be always my goal.”

While medals on the world stage remain important for Chan, his motivation comes a little closer to home. 

“I started to play badminton when I was a child, maybe aged 5 or 6. After the car accident in 2008, I started playing Para badminton again in 2009 and joined the Hong Kong squad team in 2010. Being the first wheelchair badminton player in Hong Kong makes me so proud - my team and I built up this history together,” Chan continued. “Every time I wear the Hong Kong team uniform, I feel proud. Hong Kong is small but we have many elite Para athletes in various sports. It is my honour to be part of the team.”

Leaving a legacy

Chan hopes to leave a legacy – and has some advice for anyone starting out in sport.

“I always remind myself to work hard, to do my best to fight for the glory for Hong Kong and the Para badminton team. One day, when I retire, I hope people will consider me as one of the best wheelchair players in the Para badminton world. 

“No one stays the winner forever,” Chan added. “If you want to succeed, work hard, train hard, and you will achieve.”