PACWEST and ACAC dominate National Badminton Championships

Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor  Ω

RuiLin Huang and Dan Kai may be the best badminton singles players in the CCAA, but it was the men’s doubles gold medal game that stole the show at the Tournament Capital Centre.

Thompson Rivers University hosted the CCAA National Badminton Championships.

It was three days of the best badminton Kamloops has ever seen, according to TRU badminton coach Brad Pape.

The tournament ran from Mar. 1 to 3 and was capped off with five gold medals being handed out.

Three went to Douglas College who represented the PACWEST.

“As far as the tournament goes, it ran very smooth. The players showed up and they showed up to play,” Pape said.

“The men’s doubles game was an unbelievable game, that’s as good as it gets.”

Simon Wu and Luo Wei of Douglas College took on the favoured pairing of Dayvon Reid and Mark Wong from George Brown of the OCAA for the men’s doubles gold.

Wei and Wu lost to Wong and Reid in round robin play in two sets, but the pair from Douglas College stole the first set in the best-of-three, 21-19.

George Brown controlled the second set, winning 21-12, which set up a thrilling third set finish.

“I was very nervous, but I tried to just think about the game,” Simon Wu said.

“We tried to slow down their game and give ourselves a little bit more time to defend, try not to push flat shots too much because they are really fast.”

Points went back and forth and the TCC crowd was buzzing. Douglas College went up 20-17 for match point, but George Brown came back to take a 21-20 lead.

This set up the rally of the week, which lasted for half a minute and garnered gasps from the crowd.

Douglas College took the lead back and won the game on a service ace, which Wei and Wu erupted in celebration by hugging each other.

“The last few points I was so tired,” said Luo Wei.

Andy Wong and Willis Kwee of Kwantlen Polytechnic won bronze in men’s doubles.

RuiLin Huang won her fourth women’s singles gold medal, beating Humber College’s Tracy Wong in two sets, 21-14 and 21-10.

“It’s exciting, I’m happy,” she said. “No one has done this four years in a row in women’s singles, but I had the confidence to win this match.”

Grace Box of Concordia University won the bronze.

In men’s singles, Dan Kai of NAIT was the man to beat and was exceptional once again.

He won gold over Douglas College’s Bob Sharma to claim his third straight title.

Despite winning 21-13 and 21-11, Kai had high praise for Sharma.

“I think he’s the smartest singles player in this tournament,” he said.

Kai was also impressed with TRU’s hosting duties.

“I think they prepared really well and the supporters were good,” Kai said.

Luke Couture of Langara College won the men’s singles bronze.

In women’s doubles, Jessica Yu of Concordia University and Sinead Cheah of NAIT took home gold, beating Veronica Yeung and Rosalynn Chong of Capilano University. Alyssa Woon and Renee Yip of Humber College won bronze.

In mixed doubles, Logan Campbell and Charmagne Yeung of Douglas College won gold, defeating Weslee Cheah and Quinn Conway of NAIT.

“We played them in the team event earlier and played pretty well against them and won pretty easily,” Campbell said.

“They played a lot better in the [finals] and threw us off guard but we came through in the end and pulled it together.”

Sanjay Ashokkumar and Patricia Lau of Seneca College won bronze.

In total, Douglas College walked away with four medals either gold or silver.

“We had a great run with our school; four medals overall, got to be happy with that,” Douglas’ Campbell said.

“Our coach is proud of us and we had a good year.”

The PACWEST finished with three gold, two silver and two bronze.

The ACAC won two gold, one silver and one bronze. The OCAA finished with two silver and two bronze, while the ACAA failed to win a medal.

It was the second national tournament TRU has hosted this year, after welcoming athletes to the CCAA cross country championships in November 2011.