Being remarkable: Chen's 30-year life journey as a badminton playerPublished on Jun 03 2014
Having a father who once played for the Taiwanese national badminton team, Chen Wen-Xin started to dabble in badminton at the age of two, from sitting from the court side watching her father coaching to becoming a national badminton player herself, which has led to a 30 year long journey of professional badminton playing .As a professor and alumna of the department of Athletic Sports of National Chung Cheng University (NCCU), Chen hasn't only kept breaking records and making history but has represented her country to attend the Olympics games for three times with her perseverance and unswerving attitude. Moreover, she was also a member of women golden double of Taiwan and was recently awarded as the model of athletes in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. She will keep promoting the sport as well as building the foundation of it in Taiwan in the future.
“I have grown beside the badminton court since I was young.” Chen said. Due to the fact that her father was once a member of the national team, Chen started her badminton life at the age of two, playing women singles with 70-year-old grandmas somewhere between the age 3 and 4. To Chen, she couldn't remember when and how she learned to play badminton. She only knows that she started playing badminton in her early childhood. After that, she started to participate in official badminton games at the age of 7.
“When you make a good shot, you are greeted with straight and affirmative applause.” Chen said she has been beavering away at playing badminton when she was young. She preferred to play badminton to win others’ applause instead of studying. Owing to the close attention her parents paid to the fundamental education, Chen had to transfer to a school with a badminton school team for several times. During the life in middle and high school, she used to be in a daily routine: getting up at 5 am to practice, taking make-up exams during the breaks and taking personal leaves for attending badminton games.
Chen attended Badminton Asia Championships when she was a junior in senior high. Ending up with losing the game, all she could do was sitting on the bench and be a spectator. ”During the time when I only got to watch people play, I came to the realization how lucky and fortunate it is to get to be in the games myself,” Chen recalled. As a result, when faced with the two choices for her further education, she had made up her mind and decided to go to a national athletic university instead of an academic one. Despite knowing the fact that people would only care for a top-notch athlete and that her parents, as graduates from athletic schools themselves, were fretting over her choice, she didn't succumb to the cold reality; instead,she headed toward her dream of becoming a professional badminton player.
Chen has continually represented Taiwan to participate in various international badminton tournaments, performing outstandingly on women doubles and mixed doubles since she was 15 or 16 years old. Her world ranking of women singles once rose from 16 to 5. In addition, her world ranking of women doubles has twice risen to the top, and she along with her partner were dubbed the women golden double of Taiwan. Since 2004, she had represented Taiwan to attend Olympic badminton games three times in a row.
However, long-termed and frequent drills have brought Chen some sports injuries of her wrists, waist and legs. ”This is a kind of self-mutilation of sport athletes,” Chen mocked herself. She had once over-used her right wrist on the days before 2008 Olympic Games, causing TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) severely injured. She felt extremely ached even by holding water to rinse the mouth, not to mention playing badminton. “Many people pray for their good performance, but I only pray for my health.” Chen said, being healthy is a must for focusing on games and pay respect to opponents and spectators. To Chen, laziness is both her advantage and disadvantage. But no matter what, badminton always comes first and practicing is always the first thing comes to her mind. She also mentioned that a great athlete should “loaf” in proper time. Practicing appropriately and adjusting to the top form are keys to perform well in games.
When being asked, “Is playing badminton your hobby or you just get used to it?” Chen answered, “I would say it’s the most skillful ability of my own.” She had once considered to retire from the national team and switch the career, enter Graduate Institute of Sport and Leisure Education (M.Ed.) of NCCU to study as well. But due to the fact that she almost entered quarter-finals of 2004 Olympic Games and it’s not easy to cultivate another excellent player like her in Taiwan at that time, Chen thought that she had social responsibility. Therefore, she decided to continue her career in national team and train younger players. This decision leads the result of her 17-year-long career in national team.
Speaking of future plans, in addition to attend the training camp of Asia Sports Games in September recently, Chen also hope to travel around the world, experiencing culture from different countries. As for the thoughts of being awarded as the model of athletes in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and invited to share her own experience as a badminton player with young athletes under 18 years old around the world, she was surprised and joked, ”I have to speak in English again!” But actually, because of the fact that she can encourage young athletes and promoting badminton by doing so, she thought it’s her own duty and worth-doing.