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A lone local qualifier makes her way to OCAA Badminton Championships
2024-02-17
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The OCAA Badminton Championships take place this weekend, with Centennial College in Scarborough serving as host with Cambrian Golden Shield freshman Jamie Hopkins carrying the local hopes on her shoulders, the Deep River native competing as part of the Women’s Singles event.

A 19 year-old student in the Child and Youth Care program, Hopkins is the product of a highly active badminton community back in her scenic hometown along the shores of the Ottawa River, having played club badminton since the age of seven with head coach On Ting Woo as well as continuing to progress through the high-school ranks (Mackenzie Community School) under the tutelage of coach Peter Kim.

Also a talented nordic skier, Hopkins actually suited up with the Cambrian soccer side as well in the fall and is now transitioning to a sector of badminton with which she enjoys very little familiarity.

“I’ve basically never played singles before – always played girls doubles,” she said. “I would hit the birdie out of the court so much to start the year. I was used to the bigger court and had to remind myself not to hit a birdie that is out.”

“It’s only a half foot (difference in court size), but it makes a big difference.”

"And I learned to work with someone else so that's an adjustment not to have that partner that you can rely on," added Hopkins. "I like having the other person with me for the motivation. I like them to push me and I want to push them so that we both play better."

The change has led to other alterations to her playing style, including her general approach to each and every point. “I’m more defensive here, just putting the birdie over the net and letting them make a mistake,” said Hopkins.

“That’s definitely a switch from high-school. At high-school, I would always try and end the rally as soon as possible.”

Hopkins is part of a very tough field that features defending OCAA gold and silver medal winners Devika Kumar (Conestoga) and Moti Shams (Seneca), as well as Prarthana Deuba (Centennial), Jasmine Lau (Centennial) and Mariam Muqeem (Conestoga).

"I just want to feel good about how I played," stressed Hopkins. "I can lose 21-0, but if I kept the rallies going and just didn't get the point, I am fine with that."

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