Teenager Saloni Mehta knew what she had to do – learn Cantonese, then convince her parents to change her nationality.
Now the 15-year-old badminton talent is determined to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics.
Born in Mumbai but raised in Hong Kong, Mehta quickly realised she would have more opportunities in Hong Kong, but knew it would not be easy.
“At first no one talked to me because they spoke Cantonese and I could only speak English,” she said. “I realised I must learn Cantonese if I wanted to become part of them which would also help my training.
“I spent one year learning the language before I could freely communicate with my fellow teammates in Cantonese and they became so friendly to me,” she said.
Her parents even sent her back to Mumbai for training at an academy, hoping she would choose a pathway in her native land.
“The standard there is also very high with many promising players training hard for their future, but I consider Hong Kong my home, and if I want to become a badminton player, I want to represent Hong Kong and not India,” said Mehta.
“That’s why I convinced my parents to change my nationality so I can train here and build up my career.”
“But I really want to do well in badminton. I want to achieve success in the sport.