After almost three months of practices and matches, the badminton season finally came to a close, with the City Championships hosted on 25 April 2023 at the Markham Pan Am Centre.

Tryouts for the badminton team were held in early February by team coaches Ms. Yoganathan, Ms. Libuano, and Ms. Maharaj, and 7:30 AM practices began not long after.

This year, Marc Garneau CI started off by playing preliminary matches in the Tier I South region against various schools such as Northern SS, East York CI, and North Toronto CI. Each event—boys singles, girls singles, boys doubles, girls doubles, and mixed doubles—was split into A and B categories, so every school game had 10 matches lined up, filling up the entire gymnasium. Each match followed a best-two-out-of-three system. When asked about the preliminary matches, Michael Wen remarked, “The team was really supportive this year and overall it was an enjoyable experience. I think this year’s [boys doubles] opponents were a bit tougher [than last year] but my teammate and I still tried our best to secure any wins we would get.”

After each match, points were tallied up per event and per school to determine which players would move on to the Regional Championships. Top four from A categories and top 2 from B categories moved on.

Despite a bumpy start with some close losses, the mixed doubles A, girls singles A, and girls singles B qualified for Regionals—a total of three teams from MGCI—where the top six schools in each category competed in a full-day double-elimination tournament, meaning that a team must lose twice before being eliminated, at North Toronto CI. As the matches piled on top of each other and the gymnasium began to clear as teams were eliminated, MGCI’s mixed doubles and girls singles A players finally secured gold and qualified for Cities. 

“Regionals was surprisingly competitive this year, but with the help of our coaches and many early morning practices with the team it was a great experience,” said Angelina Wang when asked about her experience. “It was amazing that we had players who advanced to Cities.”

Less than a week later, MGCI headed to the Pan Am Centre for the City Championships, which also followed a double-elimination structure. With over 10 courts in Pan Am’s colossal gymnasium, matches moved much quicker, as for each category, the top four in each region—North, South, East, and West—were competing for one to two spots per event at OFSAA, the Provincial Championships hosted by the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations. “It was a fun experience meeting other talented players from all across Toronto,” Luck remarked.

Despite the players’ hard work and Ms. Yoganathan’s coaching in between matches, MGCI was unable to make OFSAA but still brought home a silver medal in girls singles. “It was nice, [but] it would have been better if we played with feather birds,” Grace Zhu noted, referring to the yellow plastic birds used for all practices and games.

Now that the nets have been taken down and rackets put away, Ms. Yoganathan reflected, “These are great accomplishments for our school and our athletes. Coaching the badminton team is always a joy for me. [I am] so proud of all players for their dedication and hard work this season.”