November 12, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 41  

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Western to host badminton OUA's

By Alison Stolz
Gazette Staff

Matt Prince/Gazette
HADOUKEN! Western men’s badminton captain Ken Lockhart performs a Street Fighter II-esque jump-swing during a match against York last Sunday. In a related note, Guile was unseated by Zangief.

What would you do if a birdie was flying at your head at approximately 120 km/h? Duck? That? what most people would do. But if you were a member of the Western badminton team you? salivate.

Badminton is an extremely polite sport -the men and women introduce themselves before a match and wish their opponent good luck. Spectators often hear a "good shot" or "nice play," but when a match becomes hardfought, the chivalry fades away. "Once that game starts, we get right down to business," said women's captain Janis Kawamoto.

In their match against York University on Sunday, the Mustangs completed their undefeated regular season with a 13-0 victory over the Lions. "We knew we were against big competition -York is undefeated as well- but we just stayed focus and played smart," said men's captain Ken Lockhart. "Their strategy was different today -they didn't play their best line. They were holding back so that we won't know what we're really up against until next weekend in the finals." York, already holding a guaranteed berth in the Ontario University Athletics finals, wasn't concerned with winning and played a weaker line. "We just wanted to see how our new players could measure up against the top of the league," said York head coach Eddy Lee. "We didn't have anything to lose or gain, so giving our players this exposure was in our best interest." Lockhart agreed with Lee's move. "It's all about depth," Lockhart added. He also mentioned that Western has the depth to match a team like York: "You really need to have at least five or six strong players to do any damage. That's where we stand out."

The women's half of the team also benefits from a standout bench, even with six rookies joining the squad in 2003. "We have an influx of talent on the girl's team and haven't had too much of a challenge," Kawamoto said. "Jen Lam is our top female -she's great to watch and always wins. She was the Canadian Winter Games champion in singles last year."

Despite what other universities suspect, the men are doing just as well as their female counterparts. "We're known for our women's half of the team," Lockhart said. "But the men contribute just as much as the women do."

Western's match against York this past Sunday decided who would host the OUA Badminton Championships. Following their victory, it was decided that on Sun., Nov. 16, Western will hold the tournament in Thames Hall. The championships start with a semifinal game at 10 a.m. and end with the finals at 1 p.m.

With such a close-knit league, there are few surprises coming up for the Mustangs in the championships -players know their competitor- style of play and use it to their advantage. "When I go into a game, I try to use my strengths and [my opponent's] weaknesses," Lockhart said. "But next weekend, we may be surprised with York's abilities."




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