The NAIT badminton team found some great competition and success on the courts of one of the National Training Centers over the Christmas break. The team traveled west in search of higher level competition and greater experience in the Clear One Vancouver's NYE Tournament. This tournament pits players from NAIT against players from all across Canada, and a small number of players from the US and Asia.
In their respective pools, Nick Roque and Eyota Kwan lost out in the Semi-Finals of Open Mixed Doubles ultimately finishing in 4th Place. Ryo Kuramochi and Eyota Kwan lost out in the Quarter Finals of Open Women's Doubles. Eyota Kwan lost out in the Semi-Finals of Open Women's Singles, placing 3rd. Coach Andy Ko and Nicholas Roque lost out in the Semi-Finals of Open Mens Doubles playing first seeded Canadian International players Antonio Li And Toby Ng; ultimately finishing in 4th Place. The most successful of all results was Nicholas Roque and Jeffrey Ko in U23 Mens Doubles; with a final game score of 20-22 Win,21-14 Loss,21-19 Loss, not giving up the win easily they fought until the very end; with a final result of 2nd place overall.
This was the team's first appearance at the Clear One NYE tournament under coach Sinead Cheah. Previously the team has traveled under veteran coach Jordan Richey to Hawaii, Florida and the Bahamas. The trip, partially funded by proceeds from NAIT's badminton tournament, was the 2017-18 edition of an annual voyage that acts both as a primer for the ACAC season and an opportunity for team bonding. Team building and foundation is especially important this year, as many of the team's veteran players will be graduating and passing the torch onto returning players.
The team ate every meal together, roamed the ethnic malls and sampled ethnic foods, along with a full day of skiing in the days after the tournament at Cypress Mountain just outside Vancouver.
The expectations are high for the Ooks, who are ranked among the top three badminton teams in the CCAA. Last year was the first time NAIT has qualified all ten eligible players to compete in at the CCAA National Championship held in Toronto. This year's competition will be held locally at Concordia University of Edmonton March 1-4, 2018. NAIT is on the courts next on Jan. 14 at Olds college for the ACAC Series No. 2. You can catch them in Edmonton at NAIT on January 28 for Alberta Series No. 3 and at Kings University for ACAC Championships on Feb 10-11.