Michelle Li beats doubles teammate for badminton singles gold

Canada captured the gold and silver medals in women's badminton on Thursday, as Michelle Li defeated countryman Honderich in straight games 21-15, 21-9 at the Pan Am Games.

Honderich gets silver

Canada's Michelle Li, right, won the women's badminton gold medal over teammate Rachel Honderich at the Pan Am Games on Thursday. ((Alexis Espejo))

Michelle Li defeated Canadian teammate Rachel Honderich 2-0 on Thursday afternoon to win the gold medal in women's badminton at the Pan Am Games.

Li thrilled her hometown crowd at the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre with the 21-15, 21-9 victory. She teamed up with Honderich to win bronze in the women's doubles competition earlier in the week.

"I'm just really happy that we both made it to the final," Li said. "Of course I (want) to beat the other player, and it sucks to have to beat a teammate and a really good friend. But I guess that's part of the game.

"She may not have played as well as she hoped but I think I performed well and I'm happy about that."

Honderich matched Li over the first half of the opening game as both players settled in. Honderich delivered a beautiful cross-court drop to take an 11-10 lead into the break.

When they returned to the court, the 19-year-old from Toronto made a number of unforced errors and Li started to pull away. The defending champion started to use a more attacking style and forced Honderich to play a defensive game.

Li, wearing support wraps on her right leg to help with quadriceps and Achilles tendon injuries, didn't appear to be hampered at all. The 23-year-old seemed to float on the court with her usual fluidity and regularly made the crowd gasp with her remarkable retrieving ability.

"I just tried to move her to four corners before attacking," Honderich said. "But she's a very strong player so you can't start attacking too soon or she'll put you out of position. So I tried to move her around the court as much as I could but she played really well."

Li also won Pan Am gold four years ago at the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Mixed doubles, men's singles earn silver

It was remarkably different scene in the mixed doubles encounter as the Canada-U.S. rivalry was renewed. The rallies were fast and both teams used a wide variety of shots and styles.

Ng, from Vancouver, and Bruce, from Toronto, let out roars when the shuttle hit the net tape and fell on their opponents' side to set up a game point. They pulled out the game in extra points but couldn't repeat the effort in the deciding game.

D'Souza, meanwhile, had the partisan crowd on his side in the late match but couldn't use it to his advantage. Cordon was relentless in his attack and kept the Ottawa player on his heels.

Canada won six badminton medals in all over the week. Li and Honderich won doubles bronze while Bruce and Phyllis Chan of Vancouver also took third place after losing their semifinal.


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