Li Yanzhen will do anything to be involved in badminton
Li Yanzhen won the women's doubles bronze medal with Wu Ying at the 2000 World Junior Championships in Guangzhou, China. That was the year when China swept everything at stake and completed a clean sweep of all the six titles at stake.
China swept the team gold, the men's singles (Bao Chunlai), women's singles (Wei Yan), men's doubles (Sang Yang-Zheng Bo), women's doubles (Wei Yili-Zhang Yawen) and the mixed doubles (Sang Yang-Zhang Yawen).
However, Yanzhen was never able to break into China's senior national team - thanks to the enormous talent and the stiff competition in China.
China has so much talent in badminton that many of the young talents like Yanzhen just fizzled out. Yanzhen, however, has no complaints.
Instead of brooding, Yanzhen was determined and is determined not to sever her badminton links. She has taken to umpiring to be connected to the game which is part and parcel of her life to remains "active' in the sport.
"I am well aware that badminton is a very competitive sport in China. That was why I was not able to break into the senior team...probably my badminton was not good enough,' she says with a hearty laugh.
Today, Yanzhen is one of the 13 candidates who are undergoing Badminton Asia's Umpires Accreditation course held in conjunction with the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in Suzhou, China.
"I will do anything to be in badminton. To me, nothing is impossible if you have the desire and commitment to what you love," says Yanzhen, who retired from competitive badminton in 2004 when the Xiamen (Province) team was disbanded.
Yanzhen first plunged into umpiring when she attended a umpires' training course in China
Knowing that as an umpire she needs to be well versed with the latest rules and laws of the game, Yanzhen has been spending extra hours to stay informed on the topics.
Since going into umpiring, Yanzhen has done duty in the many highly competitive local tournaments in China and also at the Fuzhou China Open last year to "get the feel" of as an umpire.
"Umpiring keeps me very much in the game I love. Personally, I have set high standards for myself and will walk the extra mile to achieve my goals," said Yanzhen who is well versed in English.
On the Badminton Asia Junior Championships, Yanzhen has this to say: "This is junior championships brings some of the best badminton talents in this continent.
"There is a bright future for the game in Asia and I am confident Asia will continue to rule the sport in the world.'