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Paralympic Sports: Badminton

Qu Zimao: Para badminton’s bright new star

Teenage sensation’s storming start to 2019 as he eyes Paralympics 16 Apr 2019
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male Para badminton player Qu Zimao goes for a backhand shot on court

Qu Zimao won a stunning five golds in two weeks in Turkey and Dubai

ⒸAsian Paralympic Committee
By Priyanka Sharma | For the IPC and APC

“My English is very poor. I want to improve the language before Tokyo 2020, so that I can communicate well with my opponents, make some new friends. So, once I return home, I will be taking classes from our English teacher in our academy in Beijing.”

Qu Zimao is a star on the rise. The Chinese Para badminton player is returning home from the best two weeks of his career after winning a stunning five gold medals across two tournaments. After such a great start to the year, the 19-year-old is now looking to continue his winning momentum.

“It was the first time I won three gold medals in a tournament [in Antalya, Turkey]. So, it is a great feeling,” said an ecstatic Zimao. “I wanted to make it three-for-three here [in Dubai] too, but two golds are also very good,” he said after taking the WH 1 singles and mixed doubles WH 1-WH 2 golds in Dubai. It followed a hat-trick of wins in Turkey, where he claimed the singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles titles.

“This year is important. And I am aiming to play every tournament with 100 per cent effort. But after playing long matches in these two tournaments, I am [a] little tired now,” he added, eager to go home.

Once he has had a rest though, the first thing he wants to improve after returning home is his ability to speak English.

“My English is very poor. I want to improve the language before Tokyo 2020, so that I can communicate well with my opponents, make some new friends. So, once I return home, I will be taking classes from our English teacher in our academy in Beijing.”

Learning from legends

Having followed the games of badminton legends like Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei closely, Zimao said he has learnt different playing styles—attack and counter-attack—from the two giants. “I am so happy; Lin Dan won the Malaysian Open again. He is a living legend. I love him so much. I follow his matches on live stream.”

Zimao, who is studying computer science in junior college, loves watching cartoon movies during his free time. He also has an interesting hobby of collecting shoes. “Currently, I have a pair of Nike Kyrie 5 Black Magic and Air Jordan 1 Retro High OC. There are many in the list. I will have them soon, once I have more money,” he laughs.

On his training, the youngster, who has been playing the sport for five years now, said: “The preparation for Tokyo 2020 has already started. And I am focused to improve my stamina and pace.”

“For me, the target will be winning the gold at the World Championships and then, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The aim will be to take one step at a time,” Zimao said.