by Kennie Asuncion
I believe you will all agree that it is noticeable from last year’s results of our local tournaments that indeed our younger players have slowly found their way to placing in the top of our roster of badminton athletes. The tryouts for the composition of the national team have a lot of young faces but, of course, it had to be since the PBA (Philippine Badminton Association) set rules that allowed aspiring national wannabes to be below 25 years of age. That is why everyone looked forward to last year’s year ender national open because it allowed former national athletes and practically anyone who wanted to win different titles join the tournament.
It was a delight for a badminton enthusiast like me to see a lot of young kids play in their own age groups. I am proud to see more competitive kids in the badminton scene. Though some of the looked over eager and I only fear that they burnout faster than they could be able to maximize their skills and so I can only hope their coaches and parents work hand in hand to ensure that these kids still enjoy what they do and not be too pressured at such a young age. However, I must say that the highlight in my opinion would be the men’s singles title. As we call attest that men’s singles is very very tough and in all honesty it is the event people are excited to watch. Seeing Antonio Gadi or better known as Toby age 19, slowly climb up the ladder to be the youngest men’s singles title holder was a sight to see. He is a very young and passionate athlete who knew what he wanted to achieve, very composed, very focused and he surprisingly won most of his matches in straight games. But I must give credit to all who participated whether they were former national team members or present ones because they all played their hearts out and the games were a lot of fun to watch. The Ladies’ Singles is also won by a young junior by the name of Gelita Castilo. She is showing a lot of potential and she is only 14 when she won her ladies’ singles title. Her single final match was an exciting match to watch as she played her fellow teammate Malvinne “Poca” Alcala. Up until the last part of the 3rd game, you couldn’t tell who was actually going to win it. It was a very tight match and both were looking exhausted but Gelita managed to stay more consistent till the end. These young badminton players will definitely be at the forefront of our national badminton squad in the near future.
As an older player to the younger new generation players, there are quite a few things I’d like to share. Since you are all at the beginning of your careers, do remember that passion and dedication to the sport is key. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a lot of sacrifices. It’s not to sat that you cannot enjoy your youth but you definitely have a different life than the rest of people your age, learn to balance things. You should know what your priority in life is and the best exercise of being the best is doing everything in your capacity to achieve what you want. Whether you actually get to your goals or not, you will definitely be better in all aspects of your life. Another is to not let your achievements get to your head. My dad would always remind us to stay humble because in his words, the people you meet on your way up to the top, will the same people you meet on your way down. We all know for a fact that you can’t win every time all the time and so be a nice person so people will always remember you at your best. Respect all players, especially the senior athletes, because believe me, there are a lot of things you learn from them both in and out of the court. Be picky and wise enough to know which role model has led a good and praise worthy in and out of court attitude. Last but not the least, have fun playing. After all, it is the enjoyment that kept you staying and training for the sport.