Alex Chao and Ben Yong take silver at provincial championships, to be replaced in nationals by host Seneca pair
Despite winning silver at the provincial championships on Feb. 18, Huskies badminton pair Alex Chao and Ben Yong won’t be competing at the upcoming national championships at Seneca College on March 8.
Seneca’s duo of Mohammad Azam and Raman Kumar will replace the Huskies men’s doubles team in the national championships, a move which is permitted under Seneca’s national championship hosting agreement.
As this year is his partner Yong’s final year at George Brown College, Chao said he felt cheated by being replaced by a weaker Seneca team.
“If Seneca was sending a strong team in our place we wouldn’t have been too upset but in the tournament they didn’t win a single game,” said Chao.
Chao and Yong defeated the Seneca pair two sets to one at the provincial championships. Azam and Kumar went 0-5 at the February tournament.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” said head coach William Schram. “I think it’s a really unfair rule for the athletes. It basically means you have to win gold if (the nationals are) in your province.”
Chao and Yong were defeated in straight sets in the gold medal game by Humber’s Ryan Chow and Adam Dong, who were the heavy favourites to win the tournament. Humber’s badminton team is ranked first in Canada heading into the national championships.
Schram said he understands that host schools are within their rights to replace a team in the national championships, but he would be particular about when to use the rule.
“If my team finished in the top four, I would replace,” he said. But Schram added that if his team finished worse than fourth, he likes to think that he would understand that his team shouldn’t move on.
Huskies Angeline Alviar and Ivan Chan made an impact at the provincials as well, as the duo went 4-3 and won a bronze medal in mixed doubles play. Chao, Yong and George Brown women’s single standout Yunji Kim were each named 2016-17 Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association all-stars at the tournament.