February 5th, 2017
Nanaimo News Now
A local VIU player gained some notoriety in Canada's badminton community last week.
22-year-old Graydon Robb made the semifinals at the YONEX Canadian National Championships in Saskatoon.
Robb says he was competing among the top 30 men's players in the country at that event, but his push to the semis almost never happened.
"Ten days before the tournament at a VIU event I tore a ligament in my foot and it was a grade two tear," said Robb. "I was going (for physio) and healing it every day and I wasn't sure if I was going to play. By the time it came around it was feeling decent so I had a brace on, and for my first match it was pretty painful but I got through it."
That first match was a victory over Phillippe Guigere. The next day Robb says he was feeling better as he beat Phillipe Charron and then took out Luke Couture, the third seed, in the quarterfinals. Saturday's semi final was a loss against the number one seed and eventual winner Jason Ho-Shue, and Robb just missed out on a third place finish by virtue of a defeat to Paul-Antoine Dostie-Guindon.
The YONEX National Championship could be a major stepping stone for the Calgary native, who is already looking ahead to the Canada Open this summer.
"This tournament is kind of the end of the season and I didn't have the best results in the season so this was a big result for me. I'm thinking next year and at the Canada Open as well if I get some good results, I'm on the watch list - I just have to break through a little bit more," said Robb.
This past fall badminton was removed from the PACWEST so that marked a significant change for the 2016 PACWEST gold medalist and 2015 CCAA Men's Player of the Year. Instead of PACWEST tournaments, badminton events in 2016-17 have included athletes from UBC or SFU - schools that don't fit under the PACWEST or CCAA umbrella.
Robb says that has actually made for stronger competition.
As a VIU student he can still qualify for the 2017 CCAA Nationals in March with a crucial tournament to come Feb 17-Feb 19 in Coquitlam. The badminton season has been a whirlwind for Robb, especially the last few weeks. He's been representing VIU at tournaments, competing on the national stage and keeping up with his studies.
"It's like a roller coaster for sure. I'm in Saskatoon and it's tough to study but you have to study a bit. I miss class, and then you come back and you have to read five chapters in a night. It's pretty crazy. But it's worth it for sure," said Robb.
The fourth year student got some unexpected extra study time this week. He was scheduled for a Tuesday exam at VIU but a snow day closed down the campus.
Mother nature is obviously a badminton fan.