Credit: Mark Phelan
- There have been some ups and downs
Date: 11/7/2018 1:46 PM
Published by : Annika Langrock
The Finnish Women’s Singles player, Airi Mikkelä, spoke with Badminton Europe about her year and her goals and dreams for the future.

Airi Mikkelä is 25 years old and speaks more than three languages: Finnish, Swedish, English and some Danish, as she was living in Denmark to play badminton.

In general, it has been a good but tough year for the Women’s Singles player so far:

- There have been some ups and downs for me this year, as I have struggled with overtraining and some other health issues. I also moved back to Finland after five years in Denmark, which has obviously been a huge change for me, Mikkelä revealed to Badminton Europe. 

Feeling more confident

Mikkelä’s recent successes consist of reaching the quarter-finals at the Hellas Open and the 43th YONEX Hungarian International Championships. 

- Right now, it is going great, though, I have played many good matches lately. I am feeling more and more confident all the time and I am convinced that the very good results will come soon. 

The Finnish is currently ranked 130th in the world and 16th in BEC Elite Circuit. Mikkelä is ambitions regarding the ranking for the rest of the year:

- My goal is to get back into the top 100 before the Olympic qualification starts in 2019, so that it will be a bit easier for me to enter tournaments. 

Playing badminton for 17 years

Mikkelä started to play badminton, when she was eight years old. Since 2009, she is a playing in the national team of Finland. 

The Olympic Games 2020 are definitely a goal for the 25-year-old: 

- My main long-term goal is to qualify for Tokyo 2020. I think I have good chances and I have the right level, since I was so close to qualify for Rio 2016. 

- However, it still requires a lot of work, the right training environment, support from sponsors and of course, I need to stay healthy. So, all in all, I think that I have good chances, but it will not be easy, Mikkelä said.

Thereby, the Finnish Women’s Singles player is doing her best to reach that goal: 

- Playing in Tokyo would mean so much to me, as playing at the Olympics has always been my dream and a goal that I have worked for extremely hard.

Not only one idol

When it comes to inspiration from top players and idols, Mikkelä is not focusing on just one athlete:

- I cannot name just one idol, but I am inspired by many athletes – of course, from badminton but also from other sports.

- I love to follow other athletes on Social Media and truly admire the hard work and humble attitude that many athletes show. 
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