Players have become increasingly creative with their post-match celebrations, but nobody does it like Li Shi Feng. The world No.11 did an aerial cartwheel after winning the All England, and he repeated that on Thursday after beating Rasmus Gemke in China’s 5-0 rout of Denmark.
“I promised my teammates I’d do that if I won the match,” said Li. “I’ve been practising it since I was seven.”
Li picked up the cartwheel while training in taekwondo since the time he was five, a year before he started badminton. He continued to train at both when he was a child, even winning the provincial taekwondo championships twice – when he was eight, and again a year later. He currently holds a red belt.
Li said his parents were keen he take up sport because he was a shy child.
“My dad wanted me to be more outgoing and active, and get a bit more confident, so he wanted me to try out taekwondo. At eight I won the Jiangxi province championships, and I won it again when I was nine. I have a red belt; I wasn’t allowed to have a black belt before I turned 18.
“I practiced these flips by myself for fun when I was around seven. When I was a child I used to do the cartwheels with hands, and as we did it on mats I wasn’t scared of hurting myself. I did it every day, and after two weeks I could do it without hands. I’m not scared of falling because I practice it every day.”