A confident Malaysian flew across half the world to take on the English in Badminton. Well that was not my main purpose but it was definitely on the agenda. I really wanted to test my standard in a different country. I must say i was pretty confident when i got here. I took a visit at the sports centre on my 2nd day here and saw people knocking about in the court. I walked up to tell the coach i was interested in joining the team and he told me to come for badminton sessions. It was not until i attended badminton sessions the week later that i realise how lousy i was. Well, at least i underestimated the english badminton players. I was even fortunate enough to get into the University team of 10. The Brunel Badminton team consist of a Sri Lankan, a Jordanian, an Indian, 6 English and a Malaysian. I realised that the Jordanian guy has played in international circuits before which includes the Asian Games. Out of the 10 in the team, 5 of them are basically National standard players. They were mostly former Junior National Players who didn't make the Senior Team. So basically it was the other 5 of us fighting for one place because only 6 get to play every week. So i was basically a back up player. The coach would also rotate us around when some of the first team players couldnt make the games. So i did get to play a couple of games. I also got to travel to other places like Reading, Imperial College and Royal Holloway for the away matches. It was a great experience.
Brunel were demoted last year from the premiership badminton university league. Because of the wealth of good players that have just came in this year, we easily won our 1st division league. We were basically champions even with 6 more games to go. As champions of our division, we qualified for the knock out tournament to be crowned champions of the UK. For the knockout stages, i travelled to University of Cardiff(Mum's uni) for our pre-quarter finals which we duely beat them 6-2. I was then dropped for the quarter finals because one of the first team players returned. I actually expected it but still continued to attend training to improve myself for next year. It was while i was training yesterday afternoon that the coach suddenly called me over. He said:' Isaac, i see you have been improving recently. So i have decided to let you play tomorrow but promise me you will play like hell tomorrow ok?' I nodded my head with excitement. The coach dropped one the first team players to let me play. Wow.. Therefore we played University of Leicester in our Semi Finals today. I play 2nd doubles and played extremely badly in our first match which we lost in 3 sets to the our opposition 2nd pair. We were tied on matches with Leicester and didn't give ourselves(my partner and i) much hope against their 1st pair. I told myself that i had to make less mistakes, focus and just do my very best for the team. We both played our hearts out against the top pair and our efforts were paid off when we beat them in straight sets against all odds to send Brunel University into the final. The feeling was just magnificient as the whole hall raptured into cheers as we congratulated and embraced each other on our fantastic victory. It was as if we won the tournament, but nothing was going to stop us from celebrating a fantastic victory and more so a ticket to the final in Sheffield.
For all those who think only the Chinese and Malaysians can play badminton, think again. Or at least the guys in my university are really good. I have learnt so much ever since getting into the team. We have a wonderful coach who volunteered to coach us as his job is to coach the England National Juniors as they also use Brunel facilities.
'I just want to Thank God for giving me this opportunity to play for the Badminton team. I want to use this gift that God has given me to glorify His name.'
Come on Brunel!! Let's be champions!!