Hello, my name is Josephine Wu, and I’m a Canadian National badminton player, currently ranked #42 in the world for mixed doubles with my partner Joshua Hulburt-Yu. We have our heart set on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but we need your help to get there!
Joshua and I are considered a new team, starting in August 2018 with no ranking. In less than a year, we have reached the top 50, winning gold in our first international tournament together. We are so proud of the success we’ve experienced in the past couple months and extremely excited for what’s to come! However, the reality is that for every tournament, we pay the expenses (accommodations, flights, food) out of our own pockets. I have a coaching job at my local club but being away for tournaments means that I have no time to work and teach, being away from up to four weeks at a time playing back-to-back tournaments. Along with that, I chose to also pursue an education, taking on a full-course load at the University of Alberta. Balancing school with badminton has been difficult, not only in managing my time between studying and training, but also in finances. Paying tuition has held me back from travelling for more tournaments and so, in order to focus on the Olympics as my goal, I have decided to take the next year off school to fully commit to qualifying.
Coming from an average-income family, competitive badminton wasn’t something my family could ever afford on our own. The funding which I do have access to, and am very grateful for, is not nearly enough in covering my expenses for Olympic qualifications and I am still mainly self-funded. For every tournament, my teammates and I have to spend a tremendous amount of time planning in order to minimize our costs for transportation and accommodation. We will often choose to stay at Airbnbs over hotels, cooking meals over eating out, and sharing rooms to lower the cost. To illustrate, each tournament approximately costs: around $1000 in flights, $500 in accommodation, $250 in food and transportation. This means that on average, each trip requires almost $2,000, and most teams play in at least 18 tournaments.
The qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics began May 1, 2019 and will continue until the end of April 2020. They take the sum of the points from each team's top 10 tournaments, comparing my amount of points with my competitors. In order to increase my chances and accumulate a higher total, I have to play in as many tournaments as I can. Joshua and I have a goal: to break into the top 30 and thereby, give us our best chances at qualifying.
I am reaching out to you for support as the path to this dream is not an easy one. Now more than ever, finances have become a big burden in achieving my dream as I am playing twice the number of tournaments I would normally play. I know I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity, but it is also mentally draining trying to play my best in badminton and crunching numbers on the side, making sure I can get to the next tournament. As a junior, I had never thought about pursuing the Olympic dream because it was one I could not afford to chase. Up until now, I have gotten to where I am because of the innumerable kind and generous people supporting me throughout my badminton career. Due to their help, as well as friends and family, I can continue to play badminton at an international level.
I hope that along this journey, I would be able to draw attention to this sport in Canada. I want to put Canada on the list of top contending countries in the badminton community, but also, to bring in more funding for my fellow Canadian players of future generations. I promise that I will do my best and make you proud. Any support would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Results Current World Ranking #42 Current National Ranking #1 2019 Canadian National Mix Doubles Champion 2019 Pan American Championships Mix Doubles Champion 2018 US International Series Mix Doubles Champion 2018 Santo Domingo International Series Mix Doubles Champion 2018 Guatemala International Series Mix Doubles Champion