Olympics-Badminton-Taiwan's Cheng feels heat of minister's visit

LONDON, July 30 Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:00am EDT

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Olympians are often tickled to have top government officials come specially to watch their performances, but not Taiwan's badminton player Cheng Shao-chieh who regarded a visiting minister's support at Wembley Arena as an unwelcome distraction.

Cheng, seeded seventh in the women's singles, was a comfortable 21-11 21-9 winner over Austria's Simone Prutsch in her preliminary round match on Monday, with Taiwan's sports minister Tai Hsia-ling watching appreciatively from the crowd.

"That is definitely a negative and that is added pressure," Cheng, who won silver at the world championships at the same venue last year, told reporters.

The pint-sized 26-year-old, a genuine medal threat in London in her third Games appearance, was unaware of whether her family were watching her matches back in Taiwan and sounded content to go it alone.

"I don't know. I am always abroad playing matches and I don't really talk to my family except to say when I made it to the airport," she added.

The badminton continues at Wembley Arena until Aug. 5. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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