(ISN) – B.C.’s badminton team earned two bronze medals on Wednesday in the finals at the Canada Winter Games.
The team of Duncan Yao (19, Richmond) and Joshua Liu (18, Vancouver) battled their way to the podium in the bronze medal match of the men’s doubles, beating team Manitoba in three sets.
Surrey’s James Ho, 17, also won bronze in the men’s individual match.
In the doubles competition, familiarity proved to be important for Yao and Liu. The two athletes have known each other for most of their lives and have trained and competed together before, which is a necessity in the doubles event where teamwork is critical to success.
“Doubles badminton is really fast paced,” said Yao. “You have to stay a lot more focused than in the singles game.”
The team came into the final match with a strategy. After a disappointing loss in the semi-finals on Tuesday, Yao and Liu were determined to keep their composure and play together.
“Yesterday I wasn’t at the top of my game,” said Liu. “I couldn’t seem to follow Duncan’s pace and the pace of the game and it just felt a bit frazzled. Doubles is hard and I felt like I let my team down a little bit but then today, it was a totally different result. We have to play as one in order to win and we did that today.”
After a night of rest, the team was in great shape for the match.
“We hit the reset button after our semi-final, said Yao. “We played well and stuck to our plan. We were down before the interval of each of the games but caught up and got the wins we needed.”
For James Ho, the only other person he had to worry about in his bronze medal match was his opponent from Manitoba – who had a significant height advantage over Ho.
“My opponent was almost twice my height and so I came in with a pretty good strategy, and it worked,” he said.
“I wanted to make him bend so I went for half smashes and drops. I tried to avoid driving too much because he is a pretty big smasher. I forced him to the front of the net and then found opportunities to push him to the back – I had a better chance of hitting to his back court.”
Winning the match in three games, Ho exceeded even his own expectations.
“When I came to the Canada Winter Games my goal was to reach the semi finals and I did that,” he said. “I didn’t expect to actually medal. Fourth would have been a really great accomplishment for me. I more than achieved my goal by winning the bronze and it feels really good.
Like most Team BC athletes competing in the Games, Ho understands just how important the support he has received has been to his success.
“When I realized I won the bronze the first thing I thought about was my parents and my coaches and my friends who were all there cheering for me and I thought about how much they contributed to me winning the match.”
B.C.’s Qingzi Ouyang also competed in the bronze medal match in badminton on Wednesday, she finished fourth.