Going the Distance

Press Release: May 18, 2016

The intensity was second-to-none on the courts at 4 U Badminton this past Sunday night. With IBL’s Championship Finals set for May 27th and 28th, at least two of the teams were down to their last opportunity to qualify. One such team was the Mississauga Mavericks, a talented group of nine athletes looking for a big win. IBL spoke with the Maverick’s team manager, Bernard Pathmanathan, in the midst of their fight for the last available playoff spot. While the energy in the crowd and throughout the venue was at its peak, Bernard opened up about his group’s season and their IBL experiences to date.

“We’re (a team) made up of people with regular jobs, students – one player coming in from Trent University – it’s meant quite a bit of distance for everybody to travel, and some sacrifice from everybody here. But they get to do what they love to do, and I’m just happy that they’ve got an atmosphere to do it in.”

Currently in his second year as an IBL player and member, Bernard recognizes how Ignite Badminton League is helping to infuse the sport of badminton in Canada.

“It’s huge! With the way North American sports function, you see a whole lot of NHL and NBA (action), but now it’s time for badminton. This (league) helps to improve the sport because it has different levels of play. Before this, we all got stuck playing in individual clubs, and for individual teams, but this league increases our level of competitiveness here in Canada because of the exposure it offers.”

Bernard’s aforementioned Maverick’s teammate – the one who travels from Trent University to Mississauga’s 4 U Badminton Club to play for IBL on Sunday nights – is thrilled to have helped the team get this far. Karen Wildgen is headed into her third year of Nursing at Peterborough’s Trent University, but she felt that the opportunity to be a part of the Ignite Badminton League group and its competitors wasn’t something that she was willing to pass up.

“It was at the end of the summer last year when he (the coach) invited me to be part of the team. I thought this was so prestigious, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with some really great players. It’s the best league I’ve been in – tournament-wise and play-wise, it’s really the best.”

The league, as Wildgen puts it, is certainly receiving its fair share of recognition these days.

“Half the time taking the bus from Peterborough meant sitting on it for four hours.

But I’m really getting in shape these days. And I honestly thought that if I don’t do this now – and join – I’m going to regret it.”

On the opposite side of the court, Loose Feathers was looking to solidify their place at this year’s upcoming Championship Finals at Humber College. Ignite Badminton League’s Sarah Miller had a chance to chat with Loose Feathers team member, Angie Lau. They spoke on the other side of a Women’s Doubles victory.

“The last game was important for us to win. We’re at the point now where it’s do or die, because we’re tied with the Mississauga Mavericks who we are playing today. My partner Dorothy and I knew that we needed to win by as much as possible. Every point counts.”

Heart pounding, hands red and raw from clapping enthusiastically for fellow Loose Feathers teammates, Lau quietly confessed that she would likely lose her voice by the end of the night, albeit temporarily, as a result of cheering so loudly.

“This is intense. This season is also a lot more competitive than it was last season. We have nine teams (in this region’s Second Division) this year, and last year we only had five. So the odds of qualifying last year were really good. More than half of this year’s teams won’t make it.”

In the end, it was Loose Feathers who managed to qualify – by the skin of their teeth, as the saying goes – for the Championship Finals at the end of the month. Sunday night results have been posted for your convenience. It was Lau who spoke for the team following their Sunday night success.

“It’s been a wonderful season. We acquired three new players this year, and the team dynamic has been great. One of our youngest players is only 14, but we’ve got older players on the team, too. It’s been a good mix of experience, speed, and power.”

Now, the finals await.

Look for a complete list of all 2015-16 IBL teams who have qualified for the Championship Finals to be posted on Ignite Badminton League’s website tomorrow.


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

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