February 20, 2017, by Liz Cass
Malaysian badminton star Yang takes national university title
A rising badminton star from The University of Nottingham has won gold at the United Kingdom national University championships.
Li Lian Yang, 24 and a Malaysian national, scooped the Women’s singles title at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Championships, defeating fellow Malaysian Lyddia Cheah 2-1 in Sheffield this weekend.
Having already beaten the 2016 BUCS champion Cheah three times this season – including twice on the way to the 2017 AJ Bell National Badminton League title– sports scholar Yang went into the competition as number one seed but still had to make it through several gruelling rounds of competition.
Making the switch in September last year from training full-time with the Malaysian national squad to a sports scholarship at The University of Nottingham, Yang joins an elite badminton programme hosted in the brand new 24- court David Ross Sports Village.
Li Lian, who’s in her first year of a Mathematics and Economics degree programme at Nottingham, was delighted with her victory.
She said: “It’s such a great feeling to win my first BUCS title and I’m really proud of my achievement. After a tough weekend of competition, all my hard work over the year with my coach Martyn Lewis to ensure I was in the best condition possible has really paid off.
“I’m incredibly thankful to The University of Nottingham for the professional support they have provided; from top coaching to physiotherapy to strength and conditioning training. This win is a great way for me to show my gratitude to the University of Nottingham Sport staff who have been so instrumental on my journey!”
Head of Badminton, Martyn Lewis, a former Great Britain international, added: “This has been a record year for badminton at The University of Nottingham with our best performance to date at the BUCS National Championships and the recent National Badminton League title win. The commitment and professionalism of the players in the programme has been outstanding and it’s fantastic to see how this is translating into big results!”
Other medallists from The University of Nottingham in the championships included a bronze for Yang and mixed doubles partner Rohan Midha and in one of the upsets of the competition, Charlotte Ho and Vanessa Chien came through Friday’s qualification draw to reach the final of the Women’s Doubles, taking the silver only after defeat by number 1 seeds Hart / Williams of Loughborough.
Next, Li Lian and her team have their sights firmly set on the British Universities’ team title, held as part of BUCS Big Wednesday in March and where they are they are hot favourites to triumph. First the team must navigate the knock-out stages and in preparation, Yang and fellow sports scholars Serena Midha, Tiara Samuel and Emily Witts head to Hong Kong next month for a week-long training camp with some of the world’s top players.