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I have had role models – both as a person and as a badminton player – all my life. Ever since I started training badminton as a young boy in my home town of Odense, Denmark, there have been people I’ve looked up to. People who have inspired me. People who, in different ways, have served as living proof that you can reach all your goals if you work hard.
To this day, I continue to draw strength and inspiration from powerful personalities in my sport. First and foremost, from people who give me the motivation to tackle the challenges facing me and to keep on working. And believing. Goh Liu Ying is one of these people. So I was truly honoured when she asked if I would pen the introduction to this book. Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of following Goh’s career and results “up close and personal”, as we participate in many of the same tournaments around the world. The human and sporting qualities and the incredible strength of character she has demonstrated time and time again have served to raise my respect for Goh to new heights. As a badminton player myself, I know that the path is not always smooth. That you will hit “bumpy patches” when your game deserts you. Periods when your body simply takes a time-out and refuses to do what you want it to. Back in 2014 when I heard that Goh had had surgery on her knee, I feared the worst. Because during my years in the world of badminton I have seen knee injuries put an end to far too many active and promising careers. So it was truly inspiring to see Goh make such an impressive comeback, underlining once again her peerless strength of will and her commitment to giving her all – both on and off the court.
Recovering from such a serious injury and operation is a praiseworthy performance in and of itself, on a par with even the finest results Goh and her partner Chan Peng Soon have achieved thus far in their impressive career. For example, it was an unforgettable experience to watch Goh and Chan playing the Olympic final in Brazil. Their historic silver medal performance stands out in my mind as one of the finest symbols of strength in the face of adversity. I also know that Goh and Chan’s performance not only delighted the players themselves, but also spread a well-deserved feeling of pride throughout Malaysia. There is so much more to being a badminton player than simply having the ability to hit a shuttlecock over a net. The role actually carries a huge responsibility – an ever-present weight that you have to shoulder day after day after day. Every year, I get to experience first-hand how much badminton means to the people of Malaysia, and I am delighted on behalf of Goh and all the other Malaysian players, because I know that every match they play at every tournament inspires and motivates hundreds of thousands of badminton players of all ages. Goh’s own story is sure to inspire every young reader who harbours ambitions of one day travelling the world and making a living from playing badminton. But it will do much more than that. I have no doubt that whether or not you play badminton yourself, you will find inspiration in this book to take a new and focused approach to a variety of areas of your life.
No matter who you are, you will inevitably encounter times when things don’t turn out as intended. And I hope that reading Goh’s story will inspire you and instil in you the belief that if you work single-mindedly and actively seek out opportunities when things aren’t going your way, you will come out the other side a stronger and wiser person. I hope you enjoy this wonderful book!