Volume 94, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 7, 2001


Heading to Halifax - Men begin championship run

Buzzer sounds on indoor hockey

Badminton team goes all the way - 9-2 victory over U of Ottawa seals the win

Dear Mr. Samaranch...

Badminton team goes all the way - 9-2 victory over U of Ottawa seals the win

By Colin Butler
Gazette Staff

In terms of sheer athletic prowess and skill, it is safe to say that Western's ladies and men's badminton team is a Colossus.

They went undefeated all year to beat Queen's in the semi-final 9-2, and then echoed that in the championship round against the University of Ottawa with yet another 9-2 victory.

"The score was misleading," said Western's head coach, Bill Mason. He explained that though Western's men and women showed exceptional competitive ability, the game was actually very tense and nerve-racking.

"The singles were very close, it was 3-2 for us," he said. "For a while, it was very back and forth."

A headstrong will to win and a remarkable team spirit, were two of the factors that worked to Western's advantage in this victory, according to Janis Kawamoto, a first-year kinesiology student and the team's co-captain.

"The team really banded together," she said. "We had a really strong team this year, and I hope we can continue that type of performance."

Kevin Eng, a fourth-year biology student and yet another of the many MVPs, said he agreed with his teammate. "I thought it was a great performance and when we weren't playing, we were cheering for our teammates," he said.

Eng also said the team's training really paid off leading up to the championships. "Everyone on our team has good work ethic. Our practices are really intense – just as hard as tournaments – so that really got us ready."

The championship game against the University of Ottawa, where Western won 9-2, was as Kawamoto said, not as easy as it seemed. "The whole season Ottawa knew they were going to be up against a tough team. When we played against them in the regular season they didn't bring their strongest players, so we were a bit worried."

Kawamoto added that the quality of the players on this year's badminton team was above par and certainly deserved the victory.

"Western had dominating teams this year in men's and women's, and they played exceptionally well," Mason said. "The performance was no surprise, it was an awesome team and they had a fantastic, undefeated season."

These words from Mason are without exaggeration. The list of All-stars on the team is extensive, starting with Chris Durden, who is the first Ontario University Athletics MVP for badminton.

Other All-stars on the team include Sean Girty, Kevin Eng and Marcus Wang, who Mason said, fought back from match point and broke the spirit of the Ottawa team in the championship game.

The team's female All-stars include Val Loker, Lauren Winter and Janis Kawamoto, the OUA rookie of the year, whose undefeated record stands at 15-0 and 2-0 in mixed action.

Mason has a lot of confidence in the future success of Western's team, despite some players' decisions not to return to the court next year. "This year's change over, some top men and women did not return, but we managed," he said.

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