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PacWest provincial sports league says goodbye to badminton

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Preston Wong lunges for a birdie at the PacWest provincial badminton championship in February, when Langara still had a team. File photo
Preston Wong lunges for a birdie at the PacWest provincial badminton championship in February, when Langara still had a team. File photo

Reported by Clare Hennig

Once a force to be reckoned with, and the reigning team provincial champions, the Langara Falcons’ badminton team has dissolved after the provincial league dropped the sport.

PacWest, B.C.’s provincial college sports league, removed badminton from its roster after an unsustainable drop in provincial teams.

Not enough post-secondary badminton teams in B.C.

The problem is that too few B.C. colleges have competitive badminton teams, according to Carly Scarr, department assistant for athletics and intramurals at Langara.

“We used to have a strong league with six or seven institutions. That slowly dwindled down until last year,” she said. “It’s not really a viable league when you only have three teams competing.”

Scarr said the college fully supports badminton and wants to maintain a team somehow.

Long badminton history at Langara College

Badminton has been a significant sport at the college for decades with photos of the team’s victories, going back as far as the 1970s, displayed outside the gym. Prior to this setback, the badminton team at Langara had a great reputation that drew some students to the college.

“Badminton at Langara was one of the main reasons I went to Langara in the first place,” said Preston Wong, who played on the team for two years.

Wong left Langara last semester after the cancellation was announced.

Langara students playing badminton in the Langara gym on Oct. 24. Photo by Clare Hennig
Langara students playing non-competitive intramural badminton in the Langara gym on Oct. 24. Photo by Clare Hennig

“Because there was no more badminton, I decided to take a year off and work full-time,” Wong said.

New badminton league in the works

Bonnie Cheng,  one of Langara’s assistant badminton coaches, said SFU and UBC also have teams that could compete in PacWest, but there were rules preventing college and university teams from competing against one another. Cheng, along with coaches from other schools with badminton teams, are attempting to come up with a workaround.

“Because there is no PacWest, and a lot of student athletes want to keep badminton alive, we’re trying to start a club league. Basically, not with PacWest, but a college and university league where we can all gather and compete with each other,” she said.

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