Volume 93, Issue 74

Thursday, February 10, 2000


SPORTS

Warriors banished to underworld

Coulter ready to mix it up with the competition

Wong: the secret ingredient in Western's badminton recipe

Road trip a must for unification

Wong: the secret ingredient in Western's badminton recipe



By Chad Thompson
Gazette Staff

"Marcus is an outstanding player," said Western's badminton head coach, Bill Mason, on the play of Marcus Wong, the subject of today's profile.

Born and raised in Toronto, Wong said Western was his first choice for a university. "I picked Western because it had a good program and the campus really impressed me. It was my first choice, I didn't want to stay in Toronto."

Many athletes get their start in sports at a young age and Wong was no different. "I have probably been playing since I was 10 and haven't stopped since," said the second-year biology student.

Badminton is a difficult sport to master as it requires both a mental and a physical game, however Wong claimed he found the mental aspect to be the most demanding.

"[The] toughest part is probably just keeping [my play] up all the time and playing the same people and trying to beat the same people all the time. I also played a lot of them when I was younger."

As for a game day routine, Wong said the process starts the night before. "We don't sleep too early, we have curfew of about 1 [a.m.]. We usually eat pasta and a lot of carbohydrates the day before," he said. "We are [at an event] Saturdays from 10 in the morning to about eight at night and Sundays we are there till five [for weekend meets]. We try to be ready for games and cheer our teammates on. For me personally, I like to listen to music and get into thinking about the game before [I play]. "

A student athlete has many responsibilities placed upon them and Wong claimed the biggest demand was the school work after practice.

"Definitely studying after practice – it's pretty tiring. especially when we do a lot of the physical work with the sprints, going home trying to get back to studying is pretty hard."

Asked about the difficulty of playing mixed doubles, Wong cited court position as one. "For playing mixed, it is definitely trying to rotate properly and get to the shots [your partner] can't get. The hardest part is trying to decide who is going to get the shot."

The 11 matches in a badminton game are often decided by the mixed doubles as it is the last match to be played. Wong said he enjoyed the pressure of being in the deciding game. "It usually comes down to the mixed. I like the pressure. There is definitely a lot there, but I really enjoy playing under pressure – I feel I play better [under those circumstances]."

Wong's mixed doubles partner, Kendra Coulter, said Wong was a great player. "He is such a confident, strong and solid player, I feel I have to play up to his level."

This weekend is the Ontario University Athletics championships for badminton and Wong said he felt the team would do quite well. "I think we're going to win the gold. We're going in first so we definitely have a chance."

Currently, badminton does not have a national championship. "I definitely would like to see one. I know the teams from Alberta and Manitoba are a lot stronger because they do not have as many universities, so a lot of the same players go to the same place. It would be a lot of fun."

In the future Wong said he would continue in his sport of choice. "I'm going to keep playing in the future, I like coaching and do a little bit of coaching in my spare time."


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2000