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Kwantlen badminton athletes going to CCAA nationals

Six Kwantlen athletes have won silver medals, qualifying for the 2013 CCAA National Badminton Championships. In back row (from left) Chris Chung, Andy Wong, Willis Kwee, Morgan van Huekelom (head coach), (front row, from left) Lelinh van Hueklom (assistant coach), Paulina Hsu, Alisa Young, and Even Tong. - Photo submitted
Six Kwantlen athletes have won silver medals, qualifying for the 2013 CCAA National Badminton Championships. In back row (from left) Chris Chung, Andy Wong, Willis Kwee, Morgan van Huekelom (head coach), (front row, from left) Lelinh van Hueklom (assistant coach), Paulina Hsu, Alisa Young, and Even Tong.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) badminton team finished their 2012-2013 PACWEST campaign this past weekend at the Pinetree Community Centre in Coquitlam, where they competed in the 2013 PACWEST Badminton Championships.

Hosted by Langara College from Feb. 16-17, the Eagles came away with a bronze medal in the team competition and three silver medals in the individual competition (men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles). With six of the seven KPU athletes competing in the individual competition(s) qualifying for nationals, it signifies the largest contingent of KPU badminton athletes to qualify for a CCAA National Championship since the program’s inception in 2004.

On Feb. 16, the second-place Eagles entered the team competition with a marginal hold over the Langara Falcons in the standings. With double-points up for grabs, the Eagles were hoping for a favourable outcome that would sustain second place and guarantee a silver medal podium finish. At the completion of four rounds, the points for second place went to the Langara Falcons. The Eagles won two out of four ties, placing third in the tournament and dropping to third place overall, only 16 points behind Langara, for the 2012-2013 season.

The individual competition heated up on Feb. 17, with the medal rounds and qualification for nationals on the line. Willis Kwee (Richmond) and Andy Wong (Vancouver) brought the crowd to their feet in their men’s doubles match, by winning a monster match against Langara. After losing the first set and winning the second, Kwee and Wong fought back from being down 11-1 in the third and displayed supreme athleticism, patience and skill, taking the win (16-21, 21-15, 22-20).

Even Tong (Surrey) and Alisa Young (Vancouver) were the first Eagles to capture a silver medal in the women’s doubles, earning their way on to the BC Wildcard team. They won three of their four matches in the pool, defeating Thompson Rivers University (21-12, 13-21, 21-11), Vancouver Island University (21-14, 21-6) and Langara (21-7, 21-7).

In the mixed doubles pool, Chris Chung (Hong Kong) and Paulina Hsu (Delta) won three of their four matches to win the silver medal. Although Chung and Hsu dropped their final match in two sets to the Langara Falcons (7-21, 11-21), it was their tenacious effort against the VIU Mariners when they won the match in three sets (21-14, 20-22, 21-14) which solidified their silver medal.

In men’s doubles, the deciding match for gold came down to the final match between KPU and Douglas Royals. Despite a hard-fought effort in their previous match against Langara, Kwee and Wong were unable to continue with the momentum, dropping both sets (18-21, 7-21). They were the third KPU team to win a silver medal, and a spot on the BC Wildcard team.

“All three [KPU] teams had to win a three-gamer to qualify for nationals,” said Morgan van Huekelom, head coach, KPU. “They had to fight through that pressure, and get a spot on the [Wildcard] team. I’m proud of them.”

The championships were also a time to recognize three Eagles seniors who competed in their last PACWEST Badminton Championship. Fifth year student-athletes, David Dryden (Surrey), Grace Whang (Surrey) and Willis Kwee, have greatly contributed to the Eagles badminton program. Dryden finished his senior year off in fine form, winning his last men’s singles match in the individual competition against Douglas College (17-21, 21-18, 21-13). Whang won both of her matches in the team competition on Saturday, beating the Langara Falcons with partner Even Tong (21-8, 21-16) and the VIU Mariners in mixed doubles (21-11, 21-16) with partner Willis Kwee.

The six Eagles begin preparations for their trip to the 2013 CCAA National Badminton Championship campaign this week, to compete against Canada’s best, hosted by Georgian College, in Barrie, Ontario. The championships run from Feb. 27 to March 2.

For more information, visit the CCAA website at: www.ccaa.ca

 

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