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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Alumnus trains for national-level badminton events and plans to return as guest coach

courtesy of Adrian Mar
Class of ‘22 alumnus Adrian Mar gets ready to clear during the world junior championships in Santander, Spain, in October 2022.

Badminton birds flew across nets in the small gym with a distinctive crack, their crisp sounds drowned out by excited conversation between players and squeaking shoes on the floor: Class of ‘22 alumnus Adrian Mar was among the many who attended the open gym on Jan. 19 to reconnect with old friends and discuss a chance at a coaching job.

As a senior last year, Mar served as a kind of player-coach for the varsity badminton team because of his deep experience and talent. This year, he hopes to assist the team with his expertise as his schedule allows. 

“I’ll be helping out as a guest coach when I get the time,” Mar said. “Since I’ll be at tournaments more often, that means less time for other commitments.”

Mar’s strong passion for badminton followed him after graduating, making the decision to decline his acceptances from 4-year universities and attend De Anza College as a student athlete to focus more time on the sport.

“[The choice] was influenced simply by my love for the sport and how I feel like I have so much more potential I don’t want to waste,” he said. 

Mar has been playing badminton for 10 years, participating in both the Pan American Game Junior Championships and the World Championships in 2019, 2021 and 2022. During his senior year, Mar was nominated for athlete of the year and was awarded the Ken Davidson Award, given to key players in USA Badminton who exemplify model sportsmanship. 

The accolades are in no small part due to Mar’s dedication and talent in badminton. He doesn’t play badminton for De Anza’s college team, and instead competes in international competitions. During weekdays, he has classes in the morning, most of which are online, followed by a gym session and training in the afternoon.

On weekends, he often trains twice a day and spends 30 minutes to two hours on game analysis, where he reviews his own games while integrating the techniques of top players into his own playing style.

“During gym sessions, I focus more on building strength and increasing my mobility,” Mar said. “At training, however, I focus on improving my game and my overall playing level and consistency.”

Mar has trained at Campbell Bintang with head coach Holvy de Pauw for two years, and he says his coaching style is more physical and strength based. As a result, he’s been more focused on being physically fit and consistent than opponents.

Though he says transitioning into college has not been too difficult, the rigorous schedule and information-packed nature of the quarter system often leaves him with little time to socialize or relax.

“I don’t have too much time to go out and hang out with friends, since I’m usually either studying or training,” Mar said. “It’s harder to meet new people at school since I’m always in a time crunch.”

Regardless, he is committed to training and is looking forward to numerous events in the future. In February, he will participate in the Pan American Cup team event in Mexico, where he hopes to qualify for the Sudirman Cup, a world level team event.

Mar met his closest friends at these national tournaments, with his favorite group of friends being the team from Canada he met at the Pan American Junior Championships, and his teammates in Bintang whom he currently competes alongside. He said his experiences traveling around the world led him to connect with a wide range of  people. 

“I’ve traveled to countries such as Canada, Japan, Russia, China, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and a few more and they’ve all been amazing experiences where I have made new friends while competing and learning more about the level of competition,” he said. “I enjoy being a student-athlete mainly because of how I am still able to pursue my passion of competing, but also because I can get a degree, which is important to me.”

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