Srishty Sharon Image Courtesy:
20 Sep, 2018
The Australian Female Badminton player Gronya Somerville is an
Aussie by her citizenship, but deep inside, China is close to her heart. The
shuttler's father is Chinese, and she is also a descendant of a famous Chinese
The world No. 36 Somerville is a Doubles specialist and is
currently undergoing one-week training in Beijing with her partner Setyana
Mapasa. Somerville cannot be more pleased as she received a golden opportunity
to train with the Chinese national badminton team. The shuttler not only
managed to get trained but she also participated in meetings as well as gala
that was hosted by her sponsor company Li-Ning, which deals in the sporting
The shuttler is a born Australian who was raised in Melbourne and
lives with her Australian mother. Her father hailed from Guangzhou, China had
passed away when she was just 3-years-old.
The yellow-Aussie has China, close to her heart and also discovered
several years back that she is the fifth generation descendent of Kang Youwei,
a renowned Chinese scholar and is popular on social media having over 100,000
followers on Instagram.
Somerville is achingly beautiful, and her charm and grace have also
enlisted her to the list of the most beautiful badminton players in the world.
However, many people failed to recognize her in person, which made her lead a
normal life. The shuttler has an interest in growing her knowledge and when she
is not traveling the world for championships or training. She studies exercise
science at Victoria University of Melbourne.
The shuttler has a fixed schedule in which she leaves the house at
6.30 am and eat her porridge while riding in the car, heading to the courts.
She does the same while heading to the university after her routine training.
The shuttler has a keen interest in cooking. A vegan who likes to
cook and eat nourishing vegetarian food. She takes lessons at university and
also studies at home but also takes time to enjoy the home-cooked meal along
with her mother. Her boyfriend, Maika Phillips who lives in New Zealand is also
a badminton player. Somerville knows how to take out time from her busy life to
have a healthy conversation with Phillips on Skype. The couple has been in a
long-distance relationship from past seven years.
As quoted on South China Morning Post, Somerville talked about her
healthful living. She said, "Both my coach and my doctor were extremely
supportive when I decided to become a vegetarian or rather 90 percent
vegan," she says. "There are so many myths surrounding veganism.
People are especially concerned about protein, but there are plenty of sources
of both protein and all the other necessary nutrients available to
The shuttler was invited by one of the national TV broadcaster
CCTV, where she was asked to give a speech on the game of badminton, her career
and about her great-great-grandfather. Somerville was accompanied by her
Chinese teacher Chloe during the speech.
Somerville told SCMP, "I am extremely proud of my Chinese
heritage. I managed to read the first page of the speech in Chinese, and it
When she was asked by SCMP, why she choose badminton as her career.
She answered, "I've always loved the sport, and as a child, my mum let me
try lots of unusual things. But when one of my teachers handed me a pamphlet
advertising badminton trials, it was love at first hit,"
"A game like tennis is predominantly a two-dimensional game
where, from the forehand and backhand side, you only have a certain number of
options. In badminton, you have the same options but with an added third
dimension which is the above game. The high and loopy shots add another level
of tactics and quick decision making," she continued.
"It was important for me to get a proper education in
something that interests me," she says, as quoted in SCMP.
"I normally prepare a salad with beans and dressing in the
morning and eat it with some kind of carbohydrates."
"I wouldn't say I've had to sacrifice a lot for my badminton
career, especially considering the experiences I've been blessed with,"
she says. "But yes, I would, of course, love it if my boyfriend and I could live in the same city. But at the moment we both travel too much for it
to make sense for one of us to move to the other's country only to find our
partner overseas much of the time. For now, we try to see if we can get our
schedules to match and make the most of the time we do have together."
Like every athlete who is grinding hard to establish a successful
career, Somerville has had a lot of sacrifices. Apart from staying away from
birthday celebrations of festivals, she does a lot more. She explained,
"Ah yes, I know! My friends from the university will go out and get jobs
after graduation. But badminton is my job, and it sometimes concerns me that I
won't be able to get work experience within the field of exercise science. But
right now, I can't afford to think about it too much."
When asked about her favorite Holiday destination, she answered:
"After my boyfriend and I participated at the Oceania Badminton
Championships in Tahiti in 2016, we managed to go for four days to the
beautiful nearby island of Moorea."
She reads a lot, and when inquired what she has been reading
currently, she said, "How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger. It's about
foods that can prevent diseases and be recommended to me by a vegan
The shuttler love cooking and eating. About her favorite dish, she
answered, "I love vegan dim sum and burritos."
Many players sometimes skip their exercise schedule. The SCMP asked
Somerville about her lengthiest gap, and he answered, "Four days in a row."
She also takes time from her busy schedule to stay entertained.
What she has been currently watching, when asked, she told, "Riverdale [an
American teen drama based on characters from Archie Comics] and Death Note [a
Japanese manga series about a mysterious notebook]."