VIU will host the 2016 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Badminton Nationals from March 2 to 5 for the first time since 2004. Having qualified for singles, Graydon Robb and Melissa Liew, 2015 mixed double silver medal winners, will be competing for their province along with six other athletes from Langara, as well as Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

Though provinces go through a cycle when it comes to hosting Nationals, this year is a special year, says Helen Cheung, phys-ed work-op student. “This is really big for us this year,” says Cheung. “This is the last Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST)[for badminton], and we’re trying to start a new league for next year. It’s really big for Team BC, and we hope to do really well.”

With 50 athletes, 50 coaches, and support staff, it looks to be a busy weekend for everyone at the campus gym.

Bruce Hunter, VIU Athletics Director, is also looking forward to the Championships.

“It’s pretty exciting to get the best players in the country here for the Championships, to have it at VIU, show them Nanaimo, and show off what we have here on the west coast. The calibre of the play is amazing—most people have never seen badminton at a university level. I would encourage people to come out, especially on Saturday for the medal games.”

Graydon Robb, known for his trick shots and intensive play, can attest to that. In a February 2 PACWEST All Access interview with Ryan Watters, he gave insight on badminton at a professional level.

“If you’re comparing it to tennis, the match intensity is twice as much and you’re covering twice the amount of space in half the time,” he said, adding, “I’ll bring my A-game for Nationals.”

The Badminton Championships will be at the VIU gym, and admission is free for all VIU students, with draw prizes at the door. For more information, visit mariners.viu.ca or pacwestbc.ca.