El Estoque

Gary Wang: Badminton beast

Christian Fatoohi

MVHS sophomore participates in Junior Nationals Badminton Tournament in June, 2008

Sophomore Gary Wang stands in one of eight courts that line a brightly lit gymnasium, ready to play game six — his final match.

The only thing he can hear now is his heart racing and the advice from his coach playing back in his mind— "Just be yourself, and don’t lose confidence or self-esteem. Use what you learned in class, and give it your all."

With a deep breath, he begins his game.

 Welcome to the Junior Nationals Badminton Tournament 2008 where every lift to every lunge and each serve to each smash is delivered with extreme excellence.

Every year, more than 150 badminton players, ranging from under 9 years of age to 22 years of age, come from all over the country to compete against each other in the Junior Nationals Badminton Tournament. This year, the tournament was hosted in Marblehead, Mass.

Since the summer of 2007, Wang has been participating in the Under-17 seed in the Junior Nationals. Though Wang frequently participates in a variety of badminton competitions, Wang has found this particular tournament especially challenging because his opponents are faster, stronger, and more experienced players.Image

Despite the level-difference, Wang always tries his hardest during each match.

"It’s impossible for me to just give up even if I am losing," Wang said. "I just run for every shot until I feel like I’m dying."

 Though he has yet to place in the tournament, Wang wants nothing more than to continue competing.

"For me, I don’t want anything to hinder what I am capable of doing. Nothing should be impossible." Wang said.

But aside from his high-expectations of his own performance, Wang feels obligated to surpass the standards set by his coach, Kevin Zeng.

"I go and compete to show my coach that I am capable of winning," Wang said.  "And I never would have been able to win if it weren’t for him."

Besides being a role model, Zeng has always been a close friend to Wang. Guiding him throughout his badminton career, Zeng has brought Wang to where he is today, and plans to continue leading Wang down the road of victory.

 "Gary is just so good at badminton," Zeng said. "He is so serious about the sport, and purely passionate about it. His physical characteristics, like his lean body and strong wrist and arms are simply perfect for badminton."

Wang plans to continue preparing for tournaments with his coach.

"I want to be the champion of the champions," Wang said. "And I won’t stop training until I am just that."