Photo: Badmintonphoto
Rachel Choong in Star Wars?
Date: 11/17/2020 12:48 PM
Published by : Emilie Sommer (BEC)

In this article, we get to know Rachel Choong, the English Para player, a little better as she answers questions about what her best badminton memory is, her big goal as a 15-year-old and what she would be doing if she was not playing badminton. 

Why/how did you start playing badminton?

- I began playing badminton in 2000 when I was six years old. My dad was already playing, but it was when my older sister had just started getting some coaching at a local club that I was encouraged to join her.

- As for Para badminton, I was at junior county training when one of the coaches suggested that I enter into the 4 Nations Para badminton Championships which had just introduced the short stature events. In August 2007, I made my Para badminton debut.

What do you do in your spare time when you are not in the badminton hall or at the gym? 

- I’m always eating! I love food, and I especially love eating out at restaurants, so I like to spend my time doing that. I also love travelling and experiencing different cultures.

What is your best badminton memory and why?

- It was when I won three golds at the BWF Para badminton World Championships 2015 in Stoke Mandeville, England. This was the first time I had won all three titles at a World Championships and it was made even more special as it was on home soil and my family were there to share the experience with me. This achievement also made history as I became the first English player to win three titles at a single World Championships.

If you could choose one player to play doubles with, who would it be and why?

- I’d say Tontowi Ahmad. Mixed doubles is my preferred event, and he and Liliyana Natsir were some of the best to ever grace the game. Although Liliyana brought out the best Tontowi, I loved the way he respected her and listened to her – he would play like he would die for her – and who wouldn’t want that in a partner?!

What was your big goal as a 15-year-old? Why?
- At this age, I was fairly new to international competition, and it was a massive change in my life. My goals were to become World Champion in women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, and to hopefully see my sport in the Paralympics and to compete in them.

Did you achieve that goal?

- I am very pleased to say that I did win World titles across the three events, but I never really anticipated winning them a few times over! Unfortunately, I am yet to have the opportunity to compete in the Paralympics.

What is your big goal now?
- Just to continue playing and enjoying it. It would be amazing to have a women’s SH6 event in the 2024 Paris Paralympics and to compete, but we’ll see.

When you are at tournaments, what do you like to do when you are not playing matches or warming up? 

- I like staying in the hall and watching the badminton. There is a true friendship amongst the players, so it’s nice to spend as much time as possible with them and supporting them during their matches. When play has finished for the day or I need some fresh air, I love going out and exploring the city we are in and immersing myself in the surroundings, the culture and the food.

Who is your favourite player of all time and why?

- Lin Dan – G.O.A.T! He makes being the best in the world effortless. His pursuit of excellence and titles is something that I can strongly relate to. 

If you weren’t playing badminton, what would you be doing then?

- I think my dream job would be a professional travel and food reviewer/critic. I like the idea of being paid to travel around the world, stay in hotels and eat lots of food.

A fun fact about yourself

- Before I realised I didn’t enjoy acting, I had a few auditions for some of the newer Star Wars films. Once, while sat in the office at the studios in London, I saw a working prototype of BB-8 without its outer coverings, whizzing all around the office, zipping in and around the desks.

Who has been your biggest support in your career?

- Definitely my family. They have always encouraged and helped me throughout my career – from when I was younger when they would take me to training every week and drive me across the country for tournaments; to now – still coming with me around the world to support me when they can. They were equally determined as I was to see me succeed. I know that I would not be where I am today without their support.

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