The youngest athlete at the 2019 Canada Winter Games is making early waves on the table tennis court.
Ten-year-old Emily Liu of Calgary is 2-0 in both the Team Female and Female Doubles competitions, alongside partner Judy Pan, who is also just 11. In their four combined matches the pair has lost just one set.
“I stay calm and I’m not stressed just because other athletes are older than me,” says Liu, whose parents previously moved to Toronto from China.
“If you're winning, the older players will get tense and you have a better chance of winning the match.”
Liu first picked up a table tennis paddle around age four or five, and by six her parents had hired a coach.
“If they’re really good and have played more, my confidence is actually higher because it has to be,” the collected youngster says.
“I’m just really happy that I got into the Winter Games."
One of the Team Alberta coaches is Shuying Li, who has watched Liu progress over the years.
“She's one of the better ones,” Li admits of the diminutive Liu. “She has tried really hard and really loves table tennis. She's very focused.”
Liu is a member of the Peoples Table Tennis Club and the Calgary United Sports Table Tennis Association in Calgary. She says her ultimate goal is to one day qualify for the Olympics so that she can see bigger places.
At the 2019 Canada Winter Games, Liu is also competing in the singles event.
“I prefer doubles because you get to play and move around more, but singles is good too,” she says, adding one last message for her fellow athletes.
“Don’t get stressed and just play confident.”
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