DAA Daily

Badminton with Arjun Sharma in Abu Dhabi

By Dongjin “Scott” Seo and Mohit Garg
Staff Reporters
The Pawprint

Arjun Sharma, a 10th grader at DAA, is the undisputed champion of the grade when it comes to badminton. In his own words, he is “hands-down” the best player in Junior Varsity for this season, and reaching that level was no easy feat for him. With the end of season 3 last weekend, 2016-2017 Athletics is finally over for DAA. Now, it’s time to acknowledge the successful players from the badminton team, who came 3rd overall in MESAC. Arjun Sharma and Yiyue Chen won 1st place in MESAC Badminton Mixed Doubles. Following is an interview with Arjun Sharma who brought an elegant gold medal to the school.

Q: “To start at the beginning, how did you first get into badminton?”

“It all started in an after school activity in Grade 6. I was pretty impressed by how well I did-

I was much better than others from the beginning. I had good hand-eye coordination and arm

strength since I had been playing tennis, giving me an advantage. Looking back, I feel joining

that after school activity was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Q: “How has badminton changed your life?”

“Badminton has made [me] participate and dedicate a lot of time to the game and to making myself better. Because of it, I am able to be a part of the school team and other competitions outside of school. At first, it was a struggle to get better without any proper training and inadequate fitness and stamina, but I still managed to make the team in 8th grade, and improved myself in the sport and in other physical aspects. Badminton helped me improve my fitness greatly and that allowed me to play other sports, like ice hockey which also required a decent amount of stamina. Staying dedicated to the sport allowed me to set goals for myself and have a sport that I can call mine.”

Q: “What is the most important skill in badminton to you?”

“Footwork, since it determines agility and stamina.”

Q: “How did you feel going to MESAC?”

“I went in feeling very confident that I would have a chance at gold. Angel and I hadn’t lost any games during the season and EAC, so we expected to do pretty well.”

Q: “Oh wow, pretty confident! How did your first games go then?”

“The first game we had was against AES, who is known for their amazing performance in badminton. We lost our game against them in 2 sets, which was not very good, so we felt very discouraged. For our next game, we played AS Dubai and were very nervous throughout the match. We couldn’t afford to lose this one, and eventually we won in 3 sets. This was great for boosting our hopes and at the end of the round robin phase, we had only lost one game, AES.”

Q: “Great job handling the pressure! As an athlete myself, that’s pretty hard thing to do. So then, how did you win the gold medal?”

“During the final day, we were very sure we’d be in the finals after seeing our performance against the rest of the schools. In the finals, we sort of already had a “defeated” mindset, since AES was undefeated, and they’d beaten us in 2 sets (although they were pretty close sets). We practiced for quite some time before the game so we felt somewhat prepared, and my friends from other schools and our own school comforted me and gave me support. They told me I could win, and I had to keep that belief. The finals came, and we beat the opponents in 2 sets, and we beat them 21-14, 21-17, which was pretty good, especially when compared to the last time we played them. Overall, I think our performance was amazing, we only lost one game during the round robin, and when we reached the finals, we beat the undefeated.”

Q: “So, why do you prefer doubles?”

“I am good at doubles due to a lot of experience. I have been in three tournaments, playing doubles and am generally an inclusive and communicative person, making me good at doubles. However, I would like to also experience playing singles at the tournament level.”

Q: “Again, congratulations on the victory. Final question, would you recommend badminton to others who are hesitant on joining it?”

“Others should play badminton since it helps you improve hand-eye coordination as well as gain

some stamina from running all over the court. It’s a great sport to play since it can be both

competitive and fun. A downside of badminton is that it isn’t as popular as sports like basketball, soccer, or tennis, so finding courts or people to play with can be difficult at times.”

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