A group of US college badminton players is taking on some of the powerhouse countries from Asia and Europe in the 2014 World University Badminton Championships to be held in Cordoba, Spain from July 23 to 29.
Last year, the US participated in the Summer Universiade Games held in Kazan, Russia for the first time ever. The team, with the minimum two men and women players who had to play two events per match, had a win over Macau in the group round and lost against Ukraine in the elimination round last year.
The head coach/team manager Ray Ng is hoping for a better result this year but more importantly wants to have the athletes experience an international level of badminton.
“My short term goal is to expose the athletes to the higher level of badminton,” Ng says. “My long term goal is to make university badminton an NCAA sport by consistently participating in those competitions.”
This year, team USA has six players. Only Sharon Ng, a junior from Wellesley College, MA, is returning to the team from last year as a team captain. Ng is one of the few college badminton players who continues to train and compete after high school when many stop training and competing. “I highly encourage athletes to continue playing badminton in college and to compete in this tournament, promoting the sport and raising the level of play in the US,” Ng says.
Next year’s Summer Universiade will be held in Korea. The maximum of five men and women players will be able to join the team. The deadline for the application to join the team is November 1st and the trials will be held in December if necessary.
Following are the expectations from each player on the tournament.
Cally Chung (Freshman, University of California, Irvine)
“This is my first big international tournament, so I am very excited to meet and compete against players from different countries. I know it will be a challenge competing at a high-level tournament with many talented players, but I will do my best. Hopefully it will be a great learning experience and a fun trip.”
Stephanie Lam (Freshman, University of California, Los Angeles)
“It is a big honor to represent the US in this year’s World University Championships, and I’m very excited to have this opportunity to compete in Spain. Since this is my first international competition outside of the Pan Am region, I’m looking forward to meeting, competing against, and learning from many skillful players from all over the world. I hope to play my best in every game and keep a strong mentality until the match is over.”
Ryan Liu (Freshman, Ohio State University)
“This year would mark my second year at a tournament at the world level. I expect to gain a lot of experience facing other countries and be able to mimic their play styles that I find will fit well with how I play. I’ve never been to Europe before; this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I will play to the best of my ability. Go USA!”
Sharon Ng (Junior, Wellesley College)
“This year’s World University Championships in Cordoba, Spain will be my second time representing the US at the international collegiate level. It is an honor to compete for the US again, and I will give my all until the end. I had an amazing time at last year’s World University Games in Kazan, Russia, and I look forward to seeing familiar faces as well as meeting new players from around the world.”
Chetan Potu (Sophomore, University of California, San Diego)
“I’m really honored and excited to represent the US in Spain for the World University Championships this year. I plan on going into this tournament with the expectation of winning, because whether I win or lose I’ll be content that I put my best effort on the court. This is my first international tournament and there’s no doubt that the competition will be tough, but I’m confident in the team’s preparation and that we will play well and do our very best. I’ve been training with the team and at Bintang with my old coach Holvy De Pauw so I’m ready to give it my all in Spain. This is going to be an exciting and new experience, and I cannot wait to compete against players from different countries alongside my teammates.”
Patrick Tsai (Freshman, University of California, Davis)
“In Spain, I will compete for my first time at the international level at the World University Championships. Not going to lie, I’m feeling a bit nervous about the competition, particularly the Asian countries. But at the same time, I’m excited to play against these greatly skilled players. I will push aside my nerves and give my all to fight until the very last point during each match. Badminton has been gaining popularity at an exponential rate over the last few years, and I’m thankful for events like the WUC that further promote this great sport. I’m honored to be able to represent Team USA at this event, and I hope to continue competing for many years to come.”