Post-Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Cathrine Rosengren (SU5) embarked on a journey of self-improvement, focusing on a distinct approach that combines tactical finesse and mental fortitude to secure her place among the elite.
Rosengren’s pursuit of excellence led her to a remarkable training endeavour in Malaysia, accompanied by close friend and fellow Para shuttler Helle Sofie Sagoy of Norway in July. The inspiration for this venture emerged from a serendipitous conversation with a club member, Tanya, who had connections to coach Jiva Nair at the Badminton Asia Academy in Selangor. Intrigued by the idea, Rosengren seized the opportunity recognising the potential for growth.
Reflecting on her Malaysian experience, Rosengren states: “We had two sessions, morning then evening. It was tactical so not lots of two versus one. It was more like one versus one working on this very specific technique.”
The training regime challenged her mental stamina, pushing her to overcome self-imposed limits.
“It was very hard in the beginning, also because the first week I was sick. I had tonsillitis. I could barely stay awake on court, and the humidity was hard as well.”
The sweat-soaked intensity of the training sessions was a stark departure from her familiar routine.
“I had to drink so much water I wasn’t used to in Denmark for normal training. I used to change into one shirt, maybe two on a good day, and in Malaysia I had to go through four changes, and my skirt too. It was crazy,” she jested.
Rosengren and Sagoy also took in the sights of Malaysia, visiting a waterfall, Kuala Lumpur’s famous Petronas Towers and the Batu Caves.
Looking ahead to the Paris 2024 Paralympics, Rosengren’s mindset has shifted significantly. Having learned from her experience in Tokyo, where the weight of expectations overshadowed her campaign, Rosengren now focuses on embracing the process and being content with her performance.
“I’m thinking more about the whole process,” says the 24-year-old. “I want to be happy and satisfied. It’s okay if I don’t win, as long as I do everything I can. I just want to be the best version of me on court.
“I tend to be very hard on myself. I kept putting myself down and saying ‘oh, this is not good enough’ and stuff like that. Now I’m trying to just stay positive and happy. When I’m happy and enjoying the game, I play so much better.”
Since leaving Malaysia, Rosengren has gone on to win the SU5 women’s singles at the 4 Nations Para Badminton International in Sheffield, England and take silver at the European Para Games in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Currently, she is competing at the HULIC DAIHATSU Japan Para Badminton International 2023, where she has won all three of her group matches in straight games.
Sagoy, Rosengren’s training partner and confidante, adds her perspective on the transformation.
“After three heavy weeks in Malaysia, it’s now easier on court, I’m moving well, and have better endurance,” she says. “After three games, I don’t feel tired, and it feels amazing.
“We really enjoyed Malaysia. So much so when we were leaving at the airport, we said we’d be back very soon.”
As Rosengren navigates her path to Paralympic greatness, she aims to embrace every moment on the court, knowing that her evolution as an athlete and a person is a victory in itself.
You can catch Rosengren competing at the HULIC DAIHATSU Japan Para Badminton International 2023 from 7-12 November 2023.