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Saturday, May 6, 2000
Julien awaits Oly fate

By RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

 The only place Denyse Julien could find solace yesterday was the badminton court.

 That's because that's the only time everyone at the national champioships at the Calgary Winter Club wasn't asking her one question: "Are you in or not?"

 "A few people have asked me that," understated Julien moments after winning her semifinal match in women's singles. "I just say it looks like 60 percent."

 All that Julien has done for her sport and this nation -- she's been to two Olympics and five, yes five, Commonwealth Games -- doesn't mean a thing in her hopes of competing in Sydney later this year.

 That's because the International Badminton Federation and the Canadian Olympic Association have different requirements for a ticket to the big games.

 Julien and teammate Charmaine Reid have both qualified under the IBF standards for singles play. However, they don't have that blessing from the COA.

 But, they are COA approved for doubles play, yet haven't reached the IBF's standards in that discipline.

 Then, to complicate matters, Badminton Canada announced yesterday that they both had reached the COA standards, but need to be accepted for the Olympic team that already sports five players -- Robbyn Hermitage, Milaine Cloutier, Kara Solmundson, Mike Beres, Brent Olynyk and Bryan Moody.

 "Whoever made the standards in the COA, made it very difficult," said Julien, arguably the best women's singles player in The Americas. "Maybe they should revise something or take more things into consideration. It's already hard to qualify through the IBF.

 "It's the first time Canada has done this. In countries like Peru and the United States, if you reach the IBF standards, you're in."

 Now, Julien and Reid are trying to convince both bodies that they should go. The easier to sway should be the COA, since that group simply has to give its blessing to them based on their IBF singles rankings and they could compete in both events.

 Julien, who at 40 is still among the best in the world, has two reasons to push extra hard for one more Olympic trip.

 Obviously the end is in sight. But, more importantly, she wants to get a bitter taste of the Atlanta games in 1996 out of her mouth.

 "I didn't like Atlanta. Barcelona I loved," said Julien, who reached the final 16 at both events. "The bomb took away the Olympic spirit. Three times I was in bomb alert situations and just freaking.

 "So, it wasn't fun for me."

 A decision is expected on Monday, but Julien doesn't expect to lose sleep waiting.

 "If this would be my first Olympics I'd be nervous. But because this would be my third, it's not the same."

 Julien reached today's final by beating Julia Chen 11-5, 11-2. In the other women's singles final Reid beat Solmundson 10-11, 11-8, 11-5.

 Today's final action begins at noon.
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