Sports

Richmond Olympic Oval hosts world badminton championship

Toronto’s Mike Kryczka (above) and Len Carter defeated India’s Sunil Dang and Ram Lakhan in three games Monday afternoon in the 40-and-over category at the BWF World Senior Championships at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Play continues through Saturday’s finals.  - Martin van den Hemel photo
Toronto’s Mike Kryczka (above) and Len Carter defeated India’s Sunil Dang and Ram Lakhan in three games Monday afternoon in the 40-and-over category at the BWF World Senior Championships at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Play continues through Saturday’s finals.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Hundreds of badminton players from around the world are competing at the Richmond Olympic Oval this week during the Badminton World Federation World Senior Championships.

Kyle Hunter, executive director of Badminton Canada, said some 650 players, who brought along upwards of 200 spouses and family members, are in town competing in various age groups, from over-35 to over-65.

To make the Yonex-sponsored event possible, dozens of volunteers, 120 lines-people and nearly two dozen officials have gathered in Richmond for the event, which is held every two years.

Matches are being held all week, with the finals scheduled for Saturday.

The tournament’s format is single elimination, meaning a loss translates into the end of the tournament for the player.

But many families have come to the Lower Mainland ahead of their scheduled event to take in the city, Hunter said, meaning a trip to the other side of the globe isn’t spoiled because of a bad first day in the tourney.

Asked what the calibre of play is on display, Hunter said some retired international players are entered.

And although Hunter said the difference in skill between the top and bottom players in each category is substantial, what was on display Monday was very entertaining, with players routinely sprawling to the floor to keep a shuttlecock in play, especially in one entertaining doubles match between Toronto’s Len Carter and Mike Kryczka, and India’s Sunil Dang and Ram Lakhan.

And while the players may be past their prime, that hasn’t dulled their competitive spirit, with one men’s doubles match between Thailand’s Chatchai Bonmee and Narutum Surakkhakartn and Japan’s Kei Hamaji and Junichi Kadoya offering Jimmy Connors-style grunting during every smash. After the match, won by Thailand, the team put aside their fierce game faces and posed for an all-smiles team photo that featured a thumbs up.

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