Choi heads to Pan Am Games after golden performance at Canadian Nationals

“It was a really great feeling,” Choi said. “My coach (Alan Zhai) helped me prepare mentally and physically for the Nationals, teaching me the proper techniques.”

Montreal’s Andrew Choi won two national titles at this year Canadian National Badminton Championships held in Moncton, New Brunswick as he captured the boys singles event and the boys doubles event with partner Alexis Nadeau. The double gold performance earned Choi a berth on the Candian team that will participate in the Pan American Games in Lima Peru in mid-July.

“It was a really great feeling,” Choi said. “My coach (Alan Zhai) helped me prepare mentally and physically for the Nationals, teaching me the proper techniques.”

It was one of the finest performances in the 54-year history of the club.

“I’m pretty sure that he is the first member of our club to win double gold in the same year,” Club president George Paschali said. “It is quite an accomplishment.”

Choi began playing when he was seven-years-old and his first club was the West Island Badminton Club. In an interview last week, Choi said he learned the basics of the game at West Island and then refined his game under the tutelage of Zhia at the Pierrefonds Badminton Club. Zhai is a professional badminton coach from Guang Xi Province in southern China who has quickly established himself as one of the top coaches in Quebec.

Choi posted a perfect 6-0 record in singles competition winning 12 out of 14 games. He opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Samuel Ko (21-19, 21-9) and Stanley Feng (21-7, 21-11). In his third match, he found himself in unfamiliar territory as he lost his first game, 15-21, to Yunzhi Chen but bounced back to win the next two games, 21-18, 21-15 to win the hard-fought match 2-1. He advanced to the finals with two more one-sided matches defeating Olivier Poisson, 21-10, 21-10, and Victor Wenlong Lu, 21-11, 21-11.

Choi dropped the first game in the gold medal match but rebounded for a 2-1 win over Aaron Hsu.

The doubles tandem of Choi and Nadeau had similar success as they advanced to the championship match by virtues of 2-0 wins over the teams of Chan/Adam Kepford, 21-16, 21-18, Mandina de Silva/Dannison Liao, 21-8, 21-12, and Wenlong Lu/Franklin Zheng, 21-12, 21-8. In the championship match, they lost the first game to Kyle To and Kevin Wang but rallied to win the next two and take home gold.

“I knew Alexis from playing against him in tournaments and provincials and asked him if he wanted to play doubles and he said yes,” Choi explained.

The rest is history.

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