Michelle Li, Rachel Honderich in all-Canadian badminton final
Doubles teammates square off for Pan Am singles gold
Their shot at a doubles badminton title ended with a semifinal loss on Tuesday, but either Michelle Li or Rachel Honderich is guaranteed to win singles gold when they square off in an all-Canadian women's final on Thursday night at the Pan Am Games.
The pair's most recent singles encounter came last year, with Li beating Honderich at the Pan Am championships.
The Hong Kong-born Li, who is ranked 15th in the world and seeded No.1 for the Pan Am Games tournament in Toronto, said she and Honderich are close friends on and off the court.
"We room together, we do everything together. We're still training together [Wednesday].
"Maybe I'll drive her to the middle of nowhere and just leave her there," Li joked.
In the singles semifinals, the Markham, Ont., native showed visible signs of discomfort with her right leg, but when questioned about it she shrugged it off.
"I can still play, it's not too bad," Li said. "I injured it a couple of weeks ago at the Canadian Open, but it's wrapped up and protected. But I guess I'm not at my best and my Achilles tendon is strained."
The 2011 Pan Am singles and doubles gold medallist said her love of badminton allows her to push through the pain.
"It's the passion I guess that allows me to continue to play and not give up. I don't like to give up and I want to fight for every shot and do the best I can."
Li's initial goal was to focus more on singles than doubles coming into the tournament, and she expressed her excitement for the matchup against her doubles partner.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's definitely going to be very special to me and something I'll remember for the rest of my life. I'm going to be playing against my teammate Rachel, so it's going to be interesting."
Another Canadian playing in a singles final is Andrew D'Souza, who went from losing the first set to winning the next two against No. 1 seed Osleni Guerrero of Cuba. The unseeded D'Souza, who called it "the biggest win of his career," will face Kevin Cordon of Guatemala for gold on Thursday.
The mixed doubles duo of Alex Bruce and Toby Ng will also be playing for gold on Thursday afternoon.