With 25 teams and players from different countries gathered together, the Seasider Sports badminton doubles tournament drew more than 50 audience members. Most competitors said they came for learning and interacting with other players rather than winning the championship.
Held on Nov. 12 in the McKay Gymnasium, the purpose of the tournament was to help students release the stress they get from school work, according to Seasider Sports’ staff. Gavin Baker, a referee for Seasider Sports, explained, “You don’t have to be extremely competitive to come to play Seasider Sports. Everyone is welcome to have a team and join for fun.”
The tournament was played in the round-robin format and each team had to play at least three times. The champions for women’s double were Hinaraurea Durosset from Tahiti and Yi Chia Wu from Taiwan. Mar Bagol from the Philippines and Jia Jun Liew from Malaysia won the men’s championship. They all received T-shirts from Seasider Sports as a reward.
The staff in the McKay Gymnasium told Liew about the competition because he and his friends came to play frequently. Liew said they trained almost everyday to prepare for the match, so winning the championship meant a lot to him.
Liew, a junior studying accounting and finance, said he felt a sense of “badminton community” that night. “Sometimes when we came [to the McKay Gymnasium], there were only us. We didn’t know there were that many people on campus who enjoy badminton. It’s good to meet other people, experience their skills, and show some of our skills as well.”
As the judge for the final match, Kaylee Heck, a freshman from Alaska with an undeclared major, said she felt stressful as the competitors moved quickly back and forth. “It was intense. They’re fast and it was definitely hard to see the back [line]. Both teams have really good players. They knew more [about badminton] than I did.”
Joseph Noronha Pushnam, a senior from Malaysia studying business management and accounting who participated in the badminton class, said the match was more popular and intense then he had expected. “There was a good amount of talent out there. I thought there would just be people from the [badminton] class and some people I know who were going to play.”
Pushnam said he appreciated the talents and enthusiasm other players showed during the match. “Some of them are not the best players, but they had fun and learned quickly as they played. Seeing them change their strategy, it was really cool.”
Playing in an actual competition allows students to learn more and faster, said Jen Hao Kuo, a freshman from Taiwan studying business management and a student in the badminton class. “We’re a bit chill in [badminton] class but in here, we get to play seriously. We learned things during the match, such as positioning for the double [match], which we didn’t care about much in class.”
Kuo said the match gave him a chance to play with highly skilled players and he enjoyed it. “They’re way better than my opponents in class, which makes me much more excited. Even if I lost, I wouldn’t have anything to complain about.”
Coach Paul Christensen, a badminton instructor at BYUH, said he was glad to see a few of his badminton students participate in the tournament. “It’s good to see them practice and put into play. Hopefully next time we’ll have a bigger number of people to come and have fun.”