Badminton players from across the province descended upon Centennial College last weekend as the school hosted the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s badminton championships.
In total, the tournament consisted of 48 student-athletes competing from nine different colleges across Ontario.
Two of those players, however, did not have to travel far.
Sarah Nualan and Jia Yi Feng play for the Centennial College Colts badminton team and managed to qualify for the championships after placing second in the East regionals.
Playing at home is an advantage in any sport. Nualan, who is in her third year playing for the Colts, knows it is no different when it comes to badminton.
“It is great you have your friends and your family here to support you. It feels like your home. You do not have to travel and worry about being stressed out. Everyone is just having a good time here,” said Nualan.
Having a good time is important, but so is playing well. And this doubles tandem did very well throughout the round-robin stage of the tournament.
Head coach of the Colts, Stephen Wong, was impressed by how well the pair did.
“The ladies’ doubles have been very successful in the round-robin tournament. They won four and lost one,” said Wong. “Overall, the team has done fairly well and the women’s doubles team have been a big surprise coming in second in the round-robin tournament.”
Nualan and Feng moved on to the knockout stages and were paired against the third-place finishing Seneca Sting.
Feng, a first-year player, spoke confidently about that particular match.
“We played them a few times before and we did pretty well in all the games. We are confident going into our next game,” said Feng.
However, it was not meant to be.
The pair dropped that final match and ended up losing in the bronze medal match as well.
Nualen and Feng finished the tournament in fourth place.
It was the first time the OCAA badminton championships were hosted in the new athletic facilities at Centennial College.
Everyone was extremely excited at the opportunity that had been presented.
“It is a change for us. It is the first time we have had it here in the new gym. It gives the team a little bit of an advantage to play in front of the home crowd,” said Wong.
The women’s doubles team of Nualan and Feng plan to play again together next year. The pair can build off this year and prepare themselves to do better.
Perhaps, they hinted, winning the OCAA championship.
“We might have a shot,” said Nualan.