By: Teru Ikeda
SCARBOROUGH, ONT. - Sneakers squeaked and countless shuttlecocks flew over 10 different courts at the AWC this past weekend.
From January 11-13th, Centennial College hosted the first OCAA Invitational badminton tournament of 2019. There were over 100 student athletes from 12 colleges.
On Friday, the tournament began with 40 women's and 52 men's singles matches. Many coaches gave pep talks to their players as they headed into battle against other opponents. Some quarter-final matches went past 10 pm, but players pushed through the fatigue that surfaced late in the day.
Saturday kicked off with the singles semis and finals. For the men's singles, Humber's first-ranked Ramnish Kumar solidified his dominance, winning against Conestoga's David Lewis (21-15, 21-18) in the finals. For the women's singles, George Brown's first-ranked Anh Hoang held her throne in the finals, ousting Fanshawe's second-ranked Melanie Wade in straight sets (21-7, 21-15).
The host team's men's singles player, Alishan Shalwani, fell to Kumar, and Focus Zhang fell to Lewis in the quarter-finals.
Saturday's action continued with men's and women's doubles. The intensity amped up, but the finals were deferred until Sunday. On the last day of the tournament, Humber College maintained badminton supremacy, claiming both doubles championships. For men's, Thao Le and Ayubu Touray; for women's, Elizabeth Duong and Victoria Duong.
Colts badminton head coach, Jolyon Thompson, credited the Centennial varsity coordinator, physical therapists and varsity athletes for successfully uniting the Ontario collegiate badminton community under one roof.
"Thanks to Joan (Healey) for her administrative support in ensuring a smooth tournament, including providing our varsity athletes, visiting athletes and the coaches with food. Thanks also, to our physical therapists who were onsite the entire weekend, and assisted our varsity athletes and visiting athletes with their physical recovery and rehabilitation. Thanks also, to our own varsity athletes who set up and took down the badminton equipment for the tournament and efficiently ran the draw desk."
More rallying and more feathers will be shed on February 1st as George Brown hosts the OCAA East Regionals.