Awards and success for Fanshawe badminton

Four individuals pose in front of a backdrop with OCAA logos on it. One is holding a plaque that says OCAA champions. CREDIT: FANSHAWE ATHLETICS
The Falcons found plenty of success at the OCAA provincial championships, with wins and awards under their belts. Pictured (from left to right): Aniket Ramrupwad, Arpitraj Sinha, Michael Gao, Steve Ruddach.

The Fanshawe Falcons badminton team headed out to Aurora to attend the OCAA championships from Feb. 17-18.

This comes after the team came off of a stellar performance in Sudbury at the OCAA West Regional tournament, where Arpitraj Sinha went undefeated, going 6-0 in the men’s singles.

“The weekend was nerve-wracking,” said Sinha. “I knew there were some strong players in my category, so I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I was just coming off of a shoulder injury as well, but as the tournament went on I lost some games and won some. It was definitely good exposure to know what I need to get better.”

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Teammate Michael Gao went 4-2 for the men to quality for nationals, Zoya Virk went 4-2 and took bronze for the women to advance. Women’s duo Morgan Grant and Mook Prasarn went 2-1 to take second place, as well as mixed doubles pair Aniket Ramrupwad and Kendra McCoy taking second place to also advance to nationals.

Sinha worked hard to combat the pressure of the high-stakes tournament.

“The first game I ever played at the provincial level, I was nervous. My legs were cold, I was shaking, but I have to hold onto those moments. I’m just making sure I take time and don’t rush. Just try not to think about the game and just think about ‘this’ point.”

Before attending provincials, two of the Falcons were also honoured with OCAA badminton awards including Sinha, who was awarded the OCAA men’s badminton west region player of the year, as well as head coach Steve Ruddach being named the OCAA badminton coach of the year.

“He is one of the most amazing coaches I’ve ever worked with in my career,” said Sinha about Ruddach. “He focuses a lot on the fundamentals, which is a good thing that I know a lot of people miss. A lot of times people lose not because they do something crazy, it’s when they have a weak foundation and that’s what he works on. He’s tough when he needs to be and he’s understanding when he needs to be, he’s always there for his athletes.”

Sinha was also named a west region all-star following his 6-0 performance and Ruddach has also been nominated for CCAA national coach of the year.

“I believe that my performances should always be at the top over my achievements,” said Sinha. “I believe that if you train hard enough and focus on how you perform, the awards will come.”

The OCAAs, which were hosted by Seneca College and took place at the KC Badminton Club, also was full of success for the Falcons. The duo of Grant and Prasarn were able to capture the silver medal, just being held back by Humber after falling 2-0 in their match.

Sinha found success as well, capturing the bronze at nationals where he defeated Conestoga in the bronze medal match, going 2-1 in the game.

The duo of Grant and Prasarn performed well enough to represent Fanshawe at the CCAA badminton national championships in Nova Scotia from March 8-11, where they will take on the best from around the country.

“I just want to give a shoutout and credit to the coaches, coach Steve and coach Valliappan. They’ve been there for me the whole time and there for all the other athletes as well who were at the tournament to represent Fanshawe. It’s a bonus to see just how many people actually make it to provincials and to nationals now as well with the two making it there. Just appreciate all the love I’ve gotten from Fanshawe.”