Meet Liz Parker, Blaine’s badminton champion


Blaine local Liz Parker is better at badminton than you.

The 78-year-old physical therapist regularly competes across the border where she says the competition is most fierce, and returned home in April with a ton of hardware from the Canadian Masters Badminton Tournament near Toronto, winning gold in the age-75+ mixed doubles and age-70+ women’s doubles events, along with a silver and bronze in singles events.

Parker is now training for her appearance in the world championships in Taipei, Taiwan in September, where she will face off against the best senior badminton players on the planet. The excitement of the world’s fastest racquet sport drew her in, and the community of competitors kept her going, Parker said.

“That’s one of the things I like about it, it’s a very fast sport,” Parker said. “There’s a lot of nuance to the shots, you can hit the bird in so many different ways according to what you want to do on the court.”

Parker grew up playing tennis – even coaching for a few years – and didn’t pick up a badminton racquet until college. Fifteen years ago, she got serious about the sport again after meeting a group of competitors while living in Santa Fe.

Flash forward to today, and Parker is taking weekly classes with a personal badminton coach, plays competitively in Vancouver with a group of equally committed friends, and constantly works on her game in preparation for the world championships.

Parker said keeping active and staying in shape with the fast-paced sport is fun, but that it’s the community of peers she’s made that is the most rewarding part of her passion.

“Especially when you’re older, having that kind of community – not just community here, but a community around the world – has been so valuable,” Parker said. “It’s been an opportunity to make friends in a lot of different places.”


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