Volume 96, Issue 79
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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Big-time badminton

Shuttlecocks were flying this past weekend at the Ontario University Athletics badminton championships, as the Western Mustangs snatched up the team bronze medal.

In the first match of the final four format, Western stared across the net at McMaster University, who they had split their regular season matches with, but eventually lost to by a count of 8-3. The set up for the badminton duels placed three women's and men's singles matches along with two male and female doubles matches and a final mixed doubles game.

The Mustangs dropped all of their singles matches to McMaster, but the mixed doubles team of Lesley Mok and Kevin Tong were victorious. The men's doubles team of Hollam Sutander and Tng Boon Hwa grabbed a win and so did the women's team of Mok and Krista Sheppard.

Western's loss to McMaster was a bit of an upset, as the Mustangs were ranked number 2 heading into the event. However, Western head coach Kevin Eng said the playing field was very level and the Marauders won matches with players who had not beaten Western all year.

Western faced York University for the bronze medal match, where they traded blows to make it 5-5, setting the stage for the final and deciding match of mixed doubles. After the University of Toronto quickly downed McMaster for the gold, the entire tournament gathered to watch the Western team of Mok and Tong in the final match of the day. Mok and Tong won the pressure cooker match to steal the bronze medal.

"Lesley hadn't played much mixed doubles this year," Eng said, regarding Mok's inexperience. "[Mok] had been practicing well and it showed on the weekend."

At the awards banquet following the competition, OUA All-Star nods were handed out to Western's Ken Lockhart, Kevin Tong and Tng Boon Hwa.

On the women's side, Mustangs Janis Kawamoto and Lauren Winter were conference all-stars. The biggest award on the day went to Mustangs first-year coach Kevin Eng, who took home coach of the year, an award voted on by the rest of the coaches.

– Ryan Hickman

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