TORONTO- The Ryerson Rams badminton team is set to take part in the OUA Championships beginning on Friday at the University of Toronto. The tournament runs from Friday to Sunday and will showcase over 100 athletes from around the province.
Notables from the Rams include the women's doubles team of Fabienne Chan (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Clare Cheung (North York, Ont.), who will look to make a run for a title in their event with the qualification rounds beginning on Friday.
For a look at the Final Draw as well as updated results throughout the weekend, click here.
HAMILTON, Ont. - Ontario University Athletics (OUA) wraps up its championship season with the 2011-12 OUA Badminton championship, hosted by the University of Toronto from March 16-18. Over 120 athletes will be shooting for gold this weekend as seven institutions compete for the team title.
Action gets under way on Friday with the qualifying rounds in all events. The top two in each pool from every discipline advance to the main event elimination round where participants will face a single elimination format to decide a champion.
The Western Mustangs and Waterloo Warriors have traded the team title for the past several years, having been the only two teams to claim the banner dating back to 2002-03, but it is Western coming into this year's championship seeking to defend their title.
The Mustangs return two-time MVP Martin Giuffre (Calgary, Alta.) and two-time all-star Peter Butler (Toronto) to lead another strong contingent. Giuffre is a favourite to win the men's singles title as well as the men's doubles with his partner Ross Golding (Toronto). Butler teams up with Christine Giuffre (Calgary, Alta.) in mixed doubles and should challenge for gold after being a semifinalist last season. Fong Cho (Guelph, Ont.) is ranked second among women's singles players and is expected to be on the podium. The Mustangs have two strong women's doubles teams that could make some noise in an event with great potential for upset victories.
The Waterloo Warriors have two men ranked in the top four in singles action including Nathan Lee (Markham, Ont.), an all-star in his rookie season a year ago, and fifth-year veteran Andrew Zhuang (Mississauga, Ont.) so the Warriors expect to pick up some major points in this event. Lee will partner with four-time all-star Andrew Tai-Pow (Toronto) once more as the duo seek to defend their OUA doubles title. The Warriors continue to show their depth as the pairing of Danusha Ambagahwita (Mississauga, Ont.) and Wesley Marr (Toronto) will also challenge in men's doubles. After claiming gold last year, Tai-Pow takes on a new partner in mixed doubles with Stephanie Yeung (Toronto) and they are ranked second entering the event. Four-time all-star Amanda Carruthers (Mississauga, Ont.) teams up with Adrienne Goldsworthy (Waterloo, Ont.) in women's doubles action and should make a run for the title.
The host Varsity Blues have several seasoned players on the OUA circuit including Jesse Assing (Bethany, Ont.) who will challenge for a medal in the men's singles event as well as in doubles with partner Kyle Thompson (Port Hope, Ont.). Toronto boasts the top seed in women's singles with Bethany So (Toronto) and Melissa Hill (Oakville, Ont.) will bring her twelve years of experience to the table. Hill is ranked atop the women's doubles field with partner Fiona McKee (Markham, Ont.) while McKee also earns the first seed in mixed doubles with partner Andrew Wilkinson (Toronto). The Blues look to close the gap between the top teams and improve on their bronze medal from last season.
The McMaster Marauders are coming off a fourth place finish at last year's championship and will be depending on the women to earn the majority of their points. Allison Bennett (Oakville, Ont.) returns for the Marauders after being the top McMaster finisher last year. Rookie Alena Sukhina (Belleville, Ont.) has been strong in pre-championship play and will look to shake up the standings and upset some of the top ranked women.
The York Lions will be riding their men's doubles teams at this year's championship as the Lions have two strong pairings in Erik Chong and Jason Mak along with Darren Ho and Tim Lam. Strong play from these teams will help the Lions better their six points earned at last year's championship.
Ryerson's Fabienne Chan (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Clare Cheung (North York, Ont.) pair up as a strong challenger in the women's doubles event, entering the championship among the top four teams. Chan also teams up with Andrew Yip (Toronto), looking to earn some points for the Rams in mixed doubles action.
Rounding out the competitive field is the Queen's Gaels. The Gaels are led by the duo of Bowei Han and Jason Lao who could challenge some of the front runners in men's doubles play.
The top three teams of Western, Waterloo and Toronto will all be battling for positioning at the top of the standings but a lot of that will depend on the play of other teams in what could be one of the closest championships in recent history.
Stay tuned to oua.ca for championship updates and results over the weekend and to learn who has been crowned champion come Sunday afternoon.