A Victoria badminton player is hoping to smash his way to the top of the B.C. Winter Games this month.
Thirteen-year-old Christopher Tang will travel to Penticton at the end of February to represent Victoria as part of the Vancouver Island-Central Coast boys’ badminton team during his first appearance at the Winter Games.
Tang was one of eight people from the Island to make the team after winning a majority of the games played during qualifying trials in Nanaimo last year.
While the Games are his first foyer into competitive sports (he’s attending his first badminton tournament in Port Alberni this month as well), he’s excited to be playing alongside some familiar faces.
“Most of the people who made the team are the same ones who I play with on the school team,” said the Monterey Middle School student.
Tang first picked up a racket six years ago after a group of friends invited him to rally at the Cordova Bay Community Centre. Shortly after, his parents enrolled him in semi-private lessons with his sister and he joined the school badminton team, practicing four times a week.
Now, badminton has become a family affair. Every Saturday night, the family of four heads to the community centre, rackets in hand, to rally with eight other families playing doubles and singles.
“I like it because it’s very active, it’s very competitive,” Tang said, adding it offers some much-needed bonding time with his family.
Keith Anton, who has been coaching Tang for the past year, said he has a bright future in badminton.
“He’s very smart, he learns quickly,” Anton said. “For a young guy, he’s strong and has good fine motor skills. In badminton, all the net stuff and blocking is fine motor skills. If you’re going to get good, it’s a gross motor movement and you have to finish with something very skillful.”
Leading up to the Games, Tang’s focus will be practicing and handling more difficult shots.
“I would aim for the best,” Tang said.
Saanich’s Leon Chen, Connie He, David Tong, Ellie Vance, Jamie Yang, Lulu Zhang and Jeffery Zheng also made the team.
The B.C. Winter Games takes place Feb. 25 to 28 in Penticton. Other sports include archery, badminton, biathlon, curling, diving, figure skating, ringette and skiing cross-country.