Badminton pair make it to nationals

Yunji Kim and Angeline Alviar take silver at provincials

Yunji Kim and Angeline Alviar fell short at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championships on March 2. But the pair, playing together in their first year, still had a remarkable season, winning silver at the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association (OCAA) championship, and making it to the national tournament in British Columbia.

“All the coaching staff were extremely happy and proud of the women when they qualified for nationals during the provincial championships.” said assistant coach Howard Wong. When the pair qualified for the nationals, Wong said that he gave his fellow assistant coach, Don Tai, a big hug.

Yunji Kim and Angeline Alviar, both advanced to the CCAA championships after winning a silver medal in the provincials in women’s doubles which were on Feb. 19 and 20 hosted at Seneca College.

“My first thought was ‘oh my god we made it’ and it didn’t really sink in until Angeline hugged me,” said Kim.

Competing for a place in the final, they only won one game in the preliminary rounds, disqualifying them from the semi-finals. However, after facing more experienced and stiff competition they were still able to pull out a win, finishing the preliminary round with a record of 1-4.

“We knew winning first place at provincials would be difficult because one of the teams we were playing had players who had already competed at a national level,” said Kim.

“Both Angeline and I were not used to the amount of pressure that we faced at the provincials, and luckily our opponents were also nervous, and on the last rally of our finals game at the provincials, it was our opponent who made the costly mistake that saw us make the CCAA championships.”

The provincial silver medalists first met each other at a tournament where they competed against one another. Neither Kim or Alviar will disclose who won their initial match-up.

Kim and Alviar believe their pairing took their games to a higher level, and the fact that they performed well and showed good potential is a sign of things to come for the Huskies badminton team in the future.

Kim is a first-year business administration student of Korean descent, who lived in Togo, West Africa for 15 years. Alviar, who is from the Philippines, is also a first-year student in the civil engineering and technology program.

“Badminton makes me calmer, and playing with Yunji is really fun. It’s not just like any other recreational fun game, but more of a memorable one because you’re playing at higher-level tournaments,” said Alviar.

Both Alviar and Kim made it clear that without the support of their George Brown coaches, head coach Kim Ng, assistant Don Tai, Howard Wong, Muhammad Usama, and James Cheung, they would not have made it this far.

It was during the summer that their game showed the most improvement, not during the season, due to the fact that their coaches came out and helped them a lot with their training.

“The style that we play compliments each other. Even during provincials there are times when you can’t really focus, and Angeline was able to pick up the slack for me, and if she lost focus I would do the same. Our partnership was good in that sense,” said Kim.

Coach Wong believes that now that both girls have had a taste for the level of play and made new friends within and outside of team Ontario there is a thirst to try and make it back for next year. He said that the most important thing the girls realized was that they can compete among the nation’s best players.

“Although they finished just short of qualifying for semis and play for a medal the women left everything on the court with no regrets,” said Wong. “As coaches that is all we can ask for.”

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Badminton pair make it to nationals