C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant

Although they finished 6th at the OUA, the McMaster badminton team is full of talent 

Every sport at McMaster University is unique in its own way. Each sport has a backstory to it and every team member is talented in their own way. Badminton is just another one of those unique sports that McMaster has to offer. With over 20 competitors on the squad, it has so much to offer in terms of talent and individualism. However, there is one player who has impressed last weekend during the Ontario University Athletics Championships in Waterloo.  

Talia Ng is a third-year student currently studying life sciences and is expected to graduate this year. Nonetheless, she has been extremely impressive during this season’s badminton campaign, racking up a handful of awards during the weekend. Her first award came through at the end of the OUA Championships, where she was awarded the OUA MVP and was given all-star recognition. Although extremely impressive, her success did not end there. Just a day later Ng was named as the Marauder of the week along with Alex Drover, a runner on the men’s track team, which concluded a very eventful week for the badminton team.  

“Last week was overall a mixed experience for me. I think that as a team we have done our best, but I can't say that I am extremely happy with the outcome. We came sixth out of eight teams, so it simply isn't that great. As for the team, I feel that we are much closer altogether compared to the previous years. They are a great set of people and many of us are very supportive of each other, which is something I feel is really important for us,” said Ng. 

Ng is the first female Marauder to receive an OUA Championships Most Valuable Player Award since 2003.  

“I am really honored to have received all these awards. They certainly do bring me confidence, even though I didn't really expect it. To be honest, I think that it is unfair in a way because my team has done so much as well last week. We worked as a group together and I think that our team overall deserves the same accolades as I do,” explained Ng.  

Transitioning from a university into the world of professional sports can be a challenge, but Ng is ready to take it on. She hopes to continue her athletics journey and pursue further heights in badminton beyond her time at McMaster.  

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there,” said Ng. 

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there."

Talia Ng, 2022 OUA Badminton MVP

While the Marauders didn't do exceptionally well last weekend, the enthusiasm and closeness within the team has shown that there is a bright future ahead for the team. Its members can look forward to taking on a new set of challenges in the upcoming year and working diligently to reach their goal.  

Photos C/O Henry Zhao

The Ontario University Athletics badminton championship took place the weekend of Feb. 28 to March 1, hosted by the University of Toronto. While U of T took home their fifth consecutive title, and Bethany So of the Varsity Blues took home the tournament’s award for women’s Most Valuable Player, the McMaster Marauders yielded a fifth-place finish after a victory against the Ryerson University Rams. 

There were a total of eleven universities participating in the event, with McMaster scheduled to play three of them before potentially entering the playoff rounds. The Marauders took two of the three games, beating Guelph and Ontario Tech, but losing to Western. 

Talia Ng, one of McMaster’s great athletes, played in the championships. Ng was named an OUA all-star after the tournament’s end. Her strong performances also earned her the title of Pinks Burgers’ female athlete of the week. 

Talia Ng, one of McMaster’s great athletes, played in the championships. Ng was named an OUA all-star after the tournament’s end. Her strong performances also earned her the title of Pinks Burgers’ female athlete of the week. 

I feel incredibly honoured and grateful to have earned all these achievements,” said Ng. "All my hard work and sacrifices have paid off and I now know that I can really achieve whatever I put my mind to!”

Ng is no stranger to high-level achievements. In 2019, she was named the female athlete of the year by Badminton Canada. She is a great addition to McMaster’s badminton team, especially considering that she is only in her first year. After the Marauders’ fifth-place OUA finish, their future looks bright with such a young star on the team. Ng hopes to continue improving her time management skills, considering it crucial to both her academic and athletic success.

In the future, I am hoping to continue what I am doing now: balancing academics and badminton at the same time. During the first semester, I really struggled with balancing the two, considering I am in the Life Sciences program, which is quite difficult and busy. By learning from my mistakes, I have learned how to manage my time and prioritize,” said Ng. 

Despite a strong fifth-place finish in the OUA championships, Ng is confident the team is capable of more. She remains hungry for next season. 

Despite a strong fifth-place finish in the OUA championships, Ng is confident the team is capable of more. She remains hungry for next season. 

“Although I think we could have placed higher, I am still proud of our team’s achievement. All the ties we lost were very close and I know we could have taken those teams down,” said Ng.

She credits the work of her teammates, explaining the difficulty of their training. The team is never afraid of working hard and it clearly shows in their practice schedules. 

“Everyone on the team has trained hard throughout the season and has improved a lot. I am also impressed by every one of my teammate’s commitment and dedication to the team; waking up at six am three days a week for practice is not easy. I can’t wait to train with the team again next year and compete at OUAs again!” said Ng. 

Looking back at the program’s history, the only McMaster badminton title came from the women's team in the 1977-1978 season. Since 1996, men and women have competed in one category. With such a drought, any sense of promise can bring excitement to these teams. After a second-place finish last year, a fifth-place finish might have seemed underwhelming, but McMaster is currently known for its young talent, which could propel the team to some great results very soon. Building experience for these players is crucial for their development and could lead to a McMaster powerhouse that could achieve what past teams did not. 

Despite being known as a relatively strong school for badminton, the Marauders have been unable to bring a badminton championship home year after year, for the past 52 years. Hopefully, a new crop of players will be able to fill in the gaps and make a run in the upcoming seasons. This is definitely a team to keep your eye on in the future. 

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