Fung finds lasting friendship with Team bronze
14 October 2018
BUENOS AIRES 2018: Australia’s sole badminton player Zecily Fung recently added ‘Youth Olympic medallist’ to her resume, but what was just as rewarding were the multicultural friendships she made along the way.
Seventeen-year-old Fung joined forces with seven other young athletes from Brazil, Czech Republic, Japan, Belgium, Germany and Egypt, slogging it out over 10 matches until finally, at 110 points to 107, Fung’s team reigned victorious and claimed the team bronze.
“I’m speechless and so proud of my team! I couldn’t have even dreamed I would get to the Youth Olympic Games, let alone come away with a medal,” the Sydney local beamed.
The badminton mixed relay is a new addition to the Games, making its debut at Nanjing 2014.
Fung said that at first, she was unsure of how it would play out, but it became an unforgettable experience where nations who are usually rivals, came together and played for each other.
“Before I came into this competition I didn’t really know what to think of the team relay, because it was so different and so new to all of the players.
“On the first day of our team event, I did have mixed feelings because half of our team are top players and I was a bit worried that they might slack off a bit and save their energy for their individual events, but that wasn’t how it was at all,” she said.
“I was so happy because all of us gave our everything, everyone put in 110% and it has been such a positive experience. I’ve come away with all these new friends and if we hadn’t done this relay match, I probably wouldn’t have had that chance.
“We may not speak the same language, but when it comes to sport and being on a team, there are no barriers,” she continued.
“I’m so excited to have met so many athletes from all around the world, because it means that if one day, we make the Olympics or compete in other international competitions, we will already have that friendship.”
Now, with some amazing international experience under her belt, Zecily will return home for a quick eight days, before she heads over the to the Badminton Junior World Championships in Markham, Canada.
“The Youth Olympics has definitely given me more exposure to all the top junior players around the world,” she said.
“Playing in this competition and being exposed to such a high level of skill has really highlighted what I need to work on to improve my game, so I’m really excited to go into worlds with what I’ve learned here.”