This is the story behind the story.
Of when Japanese shuttler Chiharu Shida swapped her racket for a microphone. In a switch of roles – from green court pro to broadcasting novice – the India Open winner assumed the position of a television reporter to try her hand at media work, and surprise teammate Akane Yamaguchi in the process.
Despite not being able to compete at the Malaysia Open in January due to injury, Shida still wanted to be involved at the Super 1000 event, someway, somehow. She approached the BWF Communications team to enquire about the possibility of conducting post match interviews, to get a sense of “the experience journalism brings”.
Typically after a match, players sign autographs or pose for pictures with fans before fulfilling media obligations in the mixed zone.
On Friday, 13 January, world No.1 Yamaguchi had defeated Mia Blichfeldt to reach the Malaysia Open semifinals. Hiding in the Axiata Arena mixed zone, round the corner behind a door to not give the game away, was Shida. The 25-year-old had been briefed on how to prepare questions, act behind the camera, and the works.
Shida confessed to “being very nervous and excited” but was engrossed enough to want to wear a BWF jacket.
Here’s what happened when Yamaguchi arrived and Shida stepped forward.
“I wanted to surprise Yamaguchi. I think it worked, she was shocked,” giggled Shida after pulling off the assignment.
“The whole experience was enjoyable. I wanted to see if a top player would answer my questions with me on the other side. It’s seldom that players get an opportunity like this. I was more nervous behind the camera than in front of it.
“I’m very interested in how the media works and the uniform was a nice touch. I’m not a reporter but I tried to talk in a polite way.”
As is apparent in the video, Shida received 70 points for her performance from Yamaguchi.
“She’s good but could do with more practice,” jested Yamaguchi later.
Thrilled by the experience, and her compatriot’s seal of approval, Shida has promised to return for another go at being a journalist when circumstances allow.