IBL athletes praise the organization’s team dynamic

Press Release: March 23, 2016

The courts were busy again at 4 U Badminton this past Sunday night, packed with numerous Premier Badminton League players, all participating in various ties. The PBL schedule remains busy for many of these players – and others across the province – with games set to keep its members occupied in the weeks leading up to the Championship Finals at Humber College on May 27th and 28th.

A match overview of the draws that took place on Sunday night has already been posted for your convenience. Additionally, Premier Badminton League’s website has updated its schedule so as to ensure all athletes have access to the latest results.

While the friendly but competitive group is known for offering up expansive competition, the stories that emerged from assorted athletes in the crowd on Sunday spoke to the League’s advantages in other ways.

Heather Dart, physiotherapist and owner of the Scugog Physiotherapy Centre, says that when she first started competing with Premier Badminton League, she felt like a bit of a beginner. After playing the sport in high school, she chose to explore squash a bit more during her university years. Through her undergraduate degree at Queen’s, Heather played with the varsity squash team. Overall, she acknowledges that her time spent playing OUA level squash lead to her more comprehensive hand-eye coordination, which has also helped her out tremendously when it comes to badminton. Dart’s goal, initially, was just to train and learn from the other players who surrounded her. After doing that for 18 months, she felt confident enough to try a tournament on for size.

“This is a friendly, but very competitive atmosphere. The environment really helps to give you good quality games – and it helps to improve your game. There are so many Ontario clubs, but all the competition is spread out across the province, so by bringing it all together in a competitive environment where we can all play each other, just like this one tonight, it brings everyone’s game up.”

Dart’s reverence for Premier Badminton League isn’t stand-alone praise, either. There’s a certain conviviality that this league embraces, even going so far as to allow Rudy Hartono, a PBL member and athlete since the organization’s inception, an opportunity to rally back and forth with his two year old son, Joshua. When the two hit the court just ahead of Rudy’s team’s proper warm-up, multiple PBL members take time to watch in appreciation.

Another father-son duo, Ian and Jesse Assing, have teamed up together many a Sunday night, collectively recognizing the importance coming together under the umbrella of a shared love of sport. Ian articulately refers to PBL as a support network for all players, whether they’re beginners, youths, retired university athletes, National Masters, or anything else in between.

“There are probably 30 different badminton clubs in Toronto right now, and I’d say I’m in at least 20 of those clubs every single year. An organization like PBL cuts down on travel, but it also allows for things like competitive play and team building. We eat together, we train together, and this is a very efficient league, so it’s great.”

At 26, Ian’s son, Jesse, has already left quite a mark on the world of sport. A University of Toronto graduate, Jesse represented U of T in soccer during his time there, which also included a CIS National Championship. An elite Ontario soccer player for many years now, Jesse also recently helped to lead Humber College to the 2015 CCAA Championship. This year, while studying at Humber, he competed in the OCAA finals in badminton, earning the national silver medal in Mixed Doubles. The win marked Jesse’s second straight silver medal in the sport, after competing in Men's Singles last season.

But all of those accolades seem pale in comparison when it comes to the quality time the father-son duo get to spend together on court. Ian confirms this for when he elaborates on their time together as Premier Badminton League athletes and competitors.

“Around the world in places like Denmark and even all over Europe, there is a team component to the sport of badminton, and we’ve never had that team component in the GTA before – at least, not for many decades. PBL offers team pride. And camaraderie. And it gives me time to spend with my son.”

Given the accuracy of the saying “When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son”, it might be safe to assume that the Assing boys will be investing plenty of time together teaching future generations within their family about the enormous value of Premier Badminton League.


For more information, please contact: Sarah Miller, Sport Development Canada, cell (905) 749-0361 or e-mail saraheamiller@sympatico.ca

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