Huskies Badminton ended with one title, two runner-up finishes and six semi-final appearances
With nearly 200 matches being played in a span of two days, the George Brown Open Invitational saw an overwhelming response from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) participants as well as independently registered badminton players. Huskies badminton put on their best display this season helping them gain some much needed momentum for the New Year.
The tournament was divided into two legs with Saturday focused on men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles. Sunday was not as power packed as Saturday with the men’s and women’s doubles being played through the day. In the men’s singles, George Brown put on a strong showing as three Huskies players, Ivan Chan, Ben Yong and assistant coach Howard Wong breezed into the quarterfinals. Yong put on a brave fight against eventual finalist Cameron Lai from Humber Hawks going down 22-20 in the third game while an unfortunate hamstring injury to Wong mid-game meant that the Centennial Colts’ Alishan Shalwani went on to the semi-finals. Chan was the only semi-finalist from the Huskies men’s side who conceded victory to the eventual men’s singles champion Quang Hoang from the Mandarin Badminton club in Markham. Disappointed to have missed out due to injury, Wong attributed Huskies badminton’s success to new coach Will Schram as he said, “He’s brought a lot of new and fresh ideas and training techniques for the varsity players. The players are definitely responding well and getting along with him. “
As the day progressed to women’s singles, Huskies’ Yunji Kim soared into the finals undefeated, losing her only match of the day to Alice Xhu of Grange Badminton Club, in the finals. With mixed doubles being the final competition of the day, men’s singles winner Hoang teamed up with Maria Cheng to go on to win his second final of the day as he bagged the mixed doubles crown as well. Meanwhile Huskies’ Yunji Kim couldn’t break the finals barrier as she went on to put on yet another stellar display with her partner Alex Chao, losing her second final of the day.
Sunday saw Huskies carrying the momentum of Saturday ahead as they put on an even better show. Alex Chao, who had teamed with Yunji Kim to lose the mixed doubles finals, teamed with Ben Yong to win the first title of the tournament for George Brown in the men’s double competition. More than the victory the magnitude of the victory seemed to be impressive as Chao and Yong did not lose a single match and just seemed to cruise through to win the men’s doubles. Meanwhile, Yunji Kim partnered with Angeline Alviar in the women’s doubles as they put a strong fight in the semi-finals but eventually ended up losing. Seneca was the only other college team to have won a title in this invitational with Rachel Nham and Yan Zhou taking home the women’s doubles title.
After such a strong showing, assistant coach Donnie Tai agreed with Wong in complimenting coach Schram’s ways. “His no-nonsense style of coaching is well respected by the players, and he expects nothing less from his team when they go out on the court give 100% for every game,” he said.