By JOE LIPOVSKI

NAIT’s entire badminton team is off to nationals following the ACAC Badminton Championships. The team brought home three gold and four silver medals in the individual competitions and secured silver in the team competition. The CCAA Badminton Championships will take place at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus from March 6-9.

Concordia seemed to be the team to beat, with the Thunder capturing the ACAC coach of the year, male player of the year and female player of the year. Regardless, the Ooks were still able to bring home a healthy set of medals.

In women’s singles, Eyota Kwan won gold while her fellow Ook, Samantha Hsu took home the silver medal. Kwan played a strong game, holding her opponents from Concordia and The King’s University to less than ten points.

The Ooks also took home gold and silver in men’s and women’s doubles. Ryo Kuramochi and Bea Bernardo who won a gold medal at provincials said they used to be very passive players, but with the nature of doubles, you need to be aggressive. Kuramochi said it’s something they will continue to work on going into nationals.

Luc-Ly Nguyen won silver on the mixed doubles team and said that first-round nerves can be a challenge in any tournament, but that it gets easier once
you’re past the first round.

Fifth-year Ook, Jefferey Ko, said nerves can get to you when competing on a bigger stage like nationals. Ko said the way to get past it is to practice and the more you practice, the more naturally you will play.

Unlike provincials, each player can only compete in only one event. Head
coach Sinead Cheah said with each athlete having a defined role for nationals, they are training hard to be able to compete well on the national stage.

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