The OUA badminton championships were held this past weekend, Mar. 7 to Mar. 9. Front-runner Warriors in the tournament included men’s captain Nathan Lee, a fifth-year electrical engineer; fourth-year chemical engineer Wesley Marr; and third-year biotech student and women’s captain Carrie Law. All three made it to the final rounds: Law to a bronze medal game, Lee to the men’s single bronze, and Lee and Marr to the gold medal in men’s double.
The strongest rival of the weekend was Western. A badminton powerhouse, Western has carried the OUA championships for 10 years. The Mustangs proved themselves this year; they were featured in 10 of the 20 semi-final games. In comparison, Ottawa was in four, with Waterloo and Ryerson in only three.
Friday consisted of a round-robin of men’s and women’s singles as well as mixed doubles. Lee and Law, and the mixed team of Marr and Law all advanced. Lee won all his early matches: 21–18, 21–14; 21–10, 21–7; and 21–6, 21–5. Law won her two matches: 22–20, 21–10; 21–1, 21–8. Marr and Law advanced with: 21–11, 21–7; 21–17, 21–14; 21–4, 21–10.
Saturday held the quarter finals of men’s and women’s singles, as well as the round-robin and quarter finals of the doubles event Waterloo’s men’s double won their round-robin matches (21–4, 21–16; 21–8, 21–7; 21–10, 21–14), but the mixed team was only able to win one of their two Saturday games ( 21–6, 21–12; 13–21, 17–21). Marr and Lee were able to continue their winning streak, advancing from the robin to the quarter finals for two game wins of 21–10, 21–9 and 21–17, 21–11.
Continuing Saturday, Law was able to win her quarter final games 21–14, 21–19 and 21–14, 21–16. Lee was also able to continue with two wins of 21–10, 21–7 and 21–17, 21–11.
Sunday set the stage for the semi-finals and finals. Lee, having won every game up until then, faced Danny Paulson — a Western Mustang who too had yet to lose. Both men had swept their previous games in two sets, but this match would prove a challenge. The game extended into three sets. Lee was able to pull ahead quickly, taking the first set 21–11, but Paulson was able to come back. The second set ended 16–21, and the third set was very close, Paulson had to win by two, ending the game at 21–23. With this loss, Lee could only advance to the consolation final.
Carrie Law had a similar Sunday, losing her semi-final game against Ryerson Ram Vivian Kwok 16–21, 9–21. She continued to the consolation game, but lost against Adrianna Giuffre of Western 16–21, 10–21. The men’s single consolation final had Lee against Ottawa GeeGee Andrew Zhuang. The game was only two sets, with Lee clinching the third position with 21–19, 21–8.
Lee played his games, singles and doubles, almost back to back. When asked how he didn’t tire out, he commented, “After matches I recover pretty quickly, I only get tired during matches.”
The men’s double won their semi against Western (21–10, 21–12) and continued to the final. Lee agreed that he and Marr had a winning relationship.
“We play really well together, he knows what he’s doing on court,” Lee said.
The two lost against a second Western team in three rounds: 21–19, 15–21, and 8–21. This final was extraordinary nonetheless, with intense dives for hits smashes wound so tight that if the birdie was any heavier it would have left a dent in the floor — not to mention the pure disappointment some players expressed when they were unable to return.
The tournament ended with Western in first, a total of 86 points accumulated over the weekend. Ottawa came in second with 34 points, and Waterloo came third with 29. Marr and Lee made All-Stars for men’s doubles, “feels good,” said Lee.
With the season over, Lee and a few others will soon graduate. The team’s current coach, Maurice Lee, will also be leaving for work, so the team is hoping their old coach will return — otherwise the badminton team may be void of one.