By William Brown
Ryerson’s Vivian Kwok and Bethany So of the University of Toronto have won gold in the CIS National badminton doubles tournament at Laval University.
So is unranked and viewed as an underdog, but the pairing’s teamwork and chemistry led them to an unlikely medal in the national competition and helped Ryerson finish fourth overall in the tournament last weekend.
“It felt amazing to come in unseeded and beat most of the seeded players,” said Kwok, a second-year interior design student. “Bethany and I have been playing for around two years now. We knew who we were playing and from past results, we knew we could defeat them.”
Kwok and So, who arranged to play together in the tournament early this year, advanced to the doubles finals after wins in the quarter and semifinals. They won in the finals by a score of 21-16, 15-21 and 21-14.
“It meant a lot because (Kwok) was one of the youngest players and she beat more mature players,” said second-year badminton player Chris Pinto, who also attended nationals.
“Everyone was really proud of her. She really came through. Badminton’s such an emotional sport; if something happens it can really bring you down, but she came through.”
Overall, Ryerson’s finish was higher than last year’s fifth-place finish.
That was the team’s goal, according to second-year player Kirk Hansen.
“We wanted to make it out of our pool and make it in the top four, which is what we did,” said Hansen.
“You get a lot of motivation going into the tournament. You can see how fit and how strong the other players are. You get a lot of motivation to try and get better.”
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 26, 2014.