Massey duo lead Brandonites into badminton provincials

Yuchen Gu and Jeet Vaidya saw both extremes of competition level over the past two weeks. Now they hope to come out on the right side of some tough badminton battles at provincials this weekend.

The Vincent Massey seniors blew away their opponents at the city varsity doubles championship on April 20, sweeping fellow Vikings Jia Yuan Le and Rick Zhu 21-13, 21-9 in the final. The top two finishers in each event qualified for provincials, which open Friday with seven group matches per team.

Vaidya and Gu competed in singles and doubles – with different teammates – at Manitoba’s senior championship in Winnipeg last weekend, leaving without many wins between the two of them.

“Last weekend could have gone better but we got some good practice and experience for this weekend,” Vaidya said. “Feels great, feels exciting, feels like we can win.

“We know the competition, we’ve seen it, we do practice every day.”

The duo trains at school, also getting reps at Brandon University and Mr. Brad’s Badminton Dojo. They feel ready for the doubles game, which is significantly different to singles.

“I like the strategy about it. You can’t make them run all over the place,” said Gu.

“You got to adjust to your partner,” Vaidya added. “You can’t run into them and they’re not a handicap, they’re there to help you. You got to adjust and work your way around them, know when to hit what shots. If you know what your partner’s doing, You can act upon it and easily win a point. ”

Vaidya, 17, added it’s important to play off your teammate’s tendencies. Gu, 18, likes to smash, so Vaidya positions himself to finish points if the opponent manages to return the smash.

The duo played for Massey in Grade 9 and missed out on two cracks at provincials due to COVID-19. So this is their last chance, with 31 other teams standing in their way of a title.

The junior varsity event starts today, with Massey’s Leyton Gouldie and Neelin’s Lucien McDaniel in boys singles. Viking Maitri Patel and Spartan Elody McKenzie are in the girls singles draw.

Purva Patel and Vedant Patel are in boys doubles, along with Nil Patel and Josh Kolesar, all from Massey. Vikings Sydney Komanac and Dianna Smart join Spartans Tyra Lasuik and Kypling Black in girls doubles.

Neelin’s Maci Hlady and Lyndon Gould are in mixed doubles with Massey’s Lane Jacobson and Danica Desamito.

In the varsity event starting Friday, Antoni Klonowski of Massey and Quintis McDaniel are in boys singles while Marie Bartolome (Massey) and Mae Bartolome (Neelin) are in girls singles.

Vikings Althea Gonowon and Ryan DeGroot join Neelin’s Riley Jackson and Kristyn Harrison in girls doubles.

JT Martine and Delaney Houlihan of Neelin are in the mixed doubles field with Massey’s Jason Grift and Kristy Stutsky.

The top four of eight in each group make the playoffs, which run on Friday (JV) and Saturday (varsity).


Twitter: @thomasmfriesen


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