Badminton runs successful school competition

30 May 2006

In terms of numbers, badminton is a small sport in South Africa, even though its origins date back at least two thousand years to the game of battledore and shuttlecock played in ancient Greece, India and China. In recent years, badminton players in the country have dropped, due to a variety of reasons. It is therefore of paramount importance that the sport is grown at the school level, and eventually bring up the numbers of senior players in the sport.

School badminton in the Cape Town Unicity (falling under the Western Province Badminton Association) features some of the strongest junior players, and the school leagues are some of the best in the country.

Because of geographical reasons, school leagues in the WPBA are divided into the northern and southern suburbs. Furthermore, each of these leagues are further subdivided into two or three sections.

However, this league structure has meant many schools seldom play each other, which is further compounded by the fact that there is no schools tournament. The UCT Schools Challenge, was the solution proposed by the UCT Badminton Club and held its inaugural competition on May 13.

The competition not only featured schools from the Northern and Southern Suburbs, but also two schools from the Boland district. It was also an opportunity to expose a part of UCT to learners, who will hopefully one day study here.

The tournament was well supported, featuring 65 learners (36 boys and 29 girls) in 22 teams from 14 schools. The tournament was played in a cup format, with teams arranged in two pools for each section (separate boys and girls sections), with each team playing the other team once in two sets of singles and one set of doubles. The top two teams from each pool went to a knockout semi-final, followed by the final.

In the boys section, Pool A was won by SACS 1 with Ned Doman occupying the runners-up position, who narrowly beat Crestway High School into third place. Special mention must be made of Ocean View Primary School, who featured the youngest players in the tournament, but still performed admirably. In Pool B, Ocean View High School proved too strong for Wynberg Boys High School and SACS 2 in second and third place respectively. In the semi finals, SACS 1 beat their big rivals Wynberg Boys in all three matches, in very narrow margins, while Ocean View proved to be too strong for Ned Doman. The final was a very close affair, featuring three extremely close sets with SACS 1 beating Ocean View 21-19 in the last match (boys doubles) to win.

In the girls section, Pool A was closely contested by Bergvliet High School and Ocean View High School 1, with the former emerging as the winner by one set. In Pool B, Southern Suburbs Youth Academy (SSYA) dominated, with Reddam College edging out Ocean View High School 2 for second place. In the semi finals, Bergvliet and SSYA proved to be too strong for Reddam College and Ocean View High respectively. SSYA won the finals in another close encounter, featuring three of the top junior girls players in South Africa. Debbi Godfrey (Bergvliet) is currently ranked no 1 girl in the U17 section, while Melisha September and Shereen Mathews have both represented South Africa in the U17 and U19 sections.

The UCT Badminton Club would like to thank Tong Lok Chinese Restaurant in Sea Point for their generous sponsorship of the main prizes. The club would also like to thank Navine Christian for sponsoring prizes and one of the floating trophies for the competition.

Alex Li, UCT Badminton Club

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.