Friends And Rivals, Amy Burnett Reconnects With Fellow Badminton Player At Parapan American Games

Sept. 04, 2019, 3 p.m. (ET)

This story was written by Kara Tanner for TeamUSA.org

American badminton player Amy Burnett made her career debut in Para-badminton in Lima, Peru just two years ago. Now she’s back to show everyone just how far she’s come. 

“This is a surreal and full circle moment for me,” said Burnett. 

In August 2017, Burnett attended her first international tournament in Lima where she met Peruvian Para-badminton player, Pilar Jauregui. 

“My very first friend in the sport of badminton was Pilar,” said Burnett. “She’s been an absolute blessing to me. I call her hermana, which means sister.”

It was only right Burnett’s first match of the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 be against her friend and sister, Jauregui. 

“I knew the cards were stacked against me because she is one of the top five players in the world in her class,” said Burnett. “I am so proud and so happy to see where she is at.”

Despite her loss to Jauregui, Burnett is remaining positive and both women have continued to support one another. 

“I hate the loss, but I can attach it to how proud I am of her,” said Burnett. “I am so blessed my first match was against the person I think will win everything.”

As one of the first and only wheelchair badminton player for the United States, Burnett says she is excited to help grow the sport. 

“I’m learning more because I’m hanging out with people who have different disabilities,” said Burnett. “I hope to make the sport more visible for people in the United States.”

Burnett got her start in Para-badminton, after watching the Paralympic Games on television. She contacted the World Badminton Federation and was connected to the coaches at USA Badminton. 

“Most of us come from a sports background and we can no longer play the sports we used to,” said Burnett. “I used to play badminton standing and remembered how much I loved it, and wondered if they had it for wheelchairs.”

As a member of the U.S. Parapan American Team, Burnett is back in the place where it all started.

“It’s so nice to have a place where we don’t have to worry about our disability,” said Burnett. “We just get to go and have fun with others and make friends all over the world.”

Burnett along with fellow U.S. teammates Miles Krajewski and Eric Johnson will compete in the group stage today, and will have the opportunity to advance to the medal rounds later this week.