The Ooks badminton team wrapped up their season this past weekend in the Concordia gym after earning the chance to be the nation’s best in mens doubles, women’s doubles as well as mixed doubles. With three time men’s singles nationals medal winner Owen Kurvits (Redeemer College) and three-time repeat champion in women’s singles Olivia Lei (Humber College) having moved on from CCAA competition the chase for gold is wide open.
Wrapping up tournament action this weekend the NAIT Ook’s did not leave disappointed. Starting strong, the mixed doubles team composed of Jeffrey Ko, fourth-year dental student and Eyota Kwan, first-year Chemical technology, captured gold at Concordia going 2-0 (21-13, 21-8) against Humber College. Ko adds to his trophy collection having already captured bronze in the tournament in 2016.
Not to be outdone were Ooks teammates Nick Roque and recently named ACAC men’s badminton player of the year Imran Wadia in mens doubles. Having both won silver in last years version of the competition they came in excited but with a chip on their shoulder. After taking the first set of the men’s doubles match 21-16, opponent Humber College put on their rally caps, tying NAIT at one set a piece with a 21-17 victory. With NAIT on the ropes, Humber College came out hard and fast but their effort was for naught as both Roque and Wadia buckled down to win 21-12, taking the match two sets to one and capturing yet another gold for NAIT.
Finishing just outside of a medal were men’s and women’s doubles teammates Cailyn New and Kaitlyn Wilbee plus Tyler Walsh and Luc-Ly Nguyen, who came close losing in the bronze medal match.
Bea Bernardo and Ryu Kuramochi started off their women’s doubles weekend strong with a win in the first game before losing the next game, pushing them out of medal contention.
This is the last competition that NAIT Ooks badminton will see until the next school year.
In nationals, the Ooks were coming off their eighth straight win of the ACAC badminton championships where all 10 athletes from the NAIT Ooks men’s and women’s team qualified for nationals. The Ooks were ranked second best in the country, only behind the George Brown Huskies of the OCAA.
– Wyatt Zieger