Badminton season is always an exciting time for students at Marc Garneau. This year, the early spring sport reached its end for Garneau students on 23 April 2019 at city finals hosted at the Markham Pan Am.

The team started up in late February and held weekly practices in the gym after school in preparation for upcoming games. Ms. Libunao, the team’s coach, said she was very happy and surprised by the overwhelming number of students interesting in playing the sport as the 2019 badminton team attracted a much larger student audience than it had in previous years.

Throughout the season, Garneau played six games against other schools in the Eastern region of the TDSB, with almost all their teams make regionals. Every game, schools were required to submit a roster of students playing in gender-separated singles or doubles, or mixed doubles categories with a maximum of two entries, an A team and a B team, for each.

Standings in each of the categories were determined based on a points system, corresponding with the number of sets won. Schools earned two points for every win by their A teams and one from their B teams. The top four A teams and top two B teams in the region then moved on to city finals where they faced teams from various regions in hopes of making it all the way to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) provincial championships.

After regionals, four teams from Garneau had secured spots at city finals. Boy’s open singles players Tom Liu and Anthony Chang claimed first and second place in the Eastern region and girl’s singles A player Megan Li came fourth in her division. The mixed doubles A team, Miranda Guo and Alex Yu, placed first  as well.

Members of the badminton team. Image: Laura Lu.

The following week, the students played very close matches with many other schools from all over Toronto. Grade 11 student Tom Liu won gold in the boy’s open singles category, making him eligible to compete at OFSAA held from 2 to 4 May. “Despite the stiff competition going into this season, the team outperformed expectations and achieved one of the best results from Garneau in years,” said team captain Anthony Chang.

Ms. Libunao was also extremely proud of the team’s outcome and commented on the commitment she witnessed during her time coaching, saying,  “Most of the students on the team are quite thinly spread with academics or extracurriculars and do not live near the school. Even with those factors, students still managed to pursue with a strong work ethic.”

This year’s badminton season has helped many new students improve their skills in the sport and become more acquainted with their peers at MGCI. Tina Ma, a Grade 10 student on the team, said she enjoyed bonding with the team and was really glad she got to watch other players and learn from them. Ms. Libunao further added, “the way the teammates personally developed as well as guided others in practice truly makes us a team and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead for us next year.”