The province’s best young badminton teams all performed as expected on Friday at Hatzic Secondary. The seeded teams moved on to the top eight rounds as of 11 a.m.
This includes Fraser Valley zone team Nicolo Cruz and Nathaniel Franco, the second-best ranked boys’ doubles team in B.C.
Cruz, full of confidence, looks forward to playing challenging opponents in the upcoming rounds.
“I had fun. It was kind of easy,” he said of the first round.
The team easily won their two games 21-3 and 21-4.
“We’re excited because we’re one step closer to winning a medal,” said Franco.
The Grade 7 boys from Richmond attend different schools – Cruz at St. Paul school and Franco at A.B. Dixon elementary. They met at a badminton tournament a few years ago, and have been playing together ever since.
Cruz is the type that thrives under pressure, and badminton is his only and favourite sport.
“I like the challenge. I like the players. They make you run. It’s kind of fun when the score’s really tight and you just want to beat the person,” he said.
Both boys have parents who play the sport and who encouraged them to get into it. It was an easy sell.
“I would want to stay in it for a while. I’m already at this level, so I’d like to get better,” said Franco.
Franco practices six days a week, for two to three hours per day. On the lone day off, he’ll do other trainings.
The teammates feel strong going into the quarter finals, where they’ll be up against all the other top-ranked teams in the province.
“We already know that the players are really good, and we’re going to try our best and hope we win,” said Cruz.
Franco is betting on their time-tested strategy to work. They’ll hit to the back end, and let the opposing team set them up so they get a good shot.