Pure passion for badminton fuels Mar

December 9, 2019 — by Lihi Shoshani and Joann Zhang

In August, sophomore Adrian Mar went to Russia to compete in the 2019 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Junior Championships (WJC) in Kazan, Russia, after winning the regional trials in Livermore. 

To earn a spot in the competition, players had to win one of the three events — doubles, mixed and singles. 

Competing in doubles and mixed, Mar advanced in the mixed event and made it to finals. In both mixed and boys’ doubles, Mar placed first with partners, respectively, Mills High sophomores Kalea Sheung and Richard Wang.

Mar was younger than the other players at the WJC, and unfortunately lost in the first round. 

“It was a great experience being able to play against older players from around the world,” Mar said.  

After the WJC, Mar sparred with opponents for fun to make new friends and learn from high-level players. Next year, he hopes to do better at the WJC after more training

Mar first became interested in the sport when, at the age of 7, he tagged along with his mother to open gyms for fun. A year after he began playing, his mother took him to watch a tournament; the game’s intensity and complexity intrigued Mar, and he decided to pursue badminton competitively.

“I love the competition, even if I lose,” Mar said. ”It’s always a good experience to play against a skilled opponent.”

After playing the sport for eight years, his competitive nature has paid off in success in the sport. 

Last February, Mar competed in the Northwest Open Regional Championships with his usual tournament partners, Monta Vista High junior Aaron Low and Mission San Jose High sophomore Emily Han, winning 10 out of 11 matches. 

In August, he flew to Japan to compete in the Shonai Invitational, where he won all three matches. Later that same month in Mukilteo, U.S., Mar played in the Harbour Pointe Open Regional Championships, winning eight out of 11 matches.

To further his skills, Mar travels to various parts of Asia, where badminton is a much more prevalent sport. While there, he trains with international coaches. He looks forward to traveling to Hong Kong during winter break and Malaysia in the summer, and enjoys practicing in different countries because seeing other players helps him improve. In addition to coach-run practices, Mar conditions on his own time with weightlifting and running.

The sport’s extreme commitment has left Mar with less time to finish school work; his hectic schedule occasionally stresses him out. Mar practices three hours a day, not including conditioning, and tournaments outside of the state and country often cause him to miss school: for the WJC, Mar missed a week of school to travel to Russia. 

His love for the sport, however, makes the sacrifice worth it. 

“I love badminton because each match is a new and fun experience,” Mar said. “The community is full of passionate badminton players who also want to win, making the competition even harder.”

Badminton has also connected Mar to friends around the world and within school. When playing for the school team last year, he played doubles with junior Ryan Hsiao. 

“He was a great friend on and off the court,” Hsiao said. “He always seemed relaxed, which helped us both play better, since there was less pressure.”

Mar will be playing for the school team this year too, with Hsiao as his doubles partner, and is hoping to have fun, play matches that aren’t as intense and help his teammates get better throughout the season. 

Looking forward, Mar aims to one day compete in the Olympics if he can continue to improve his skills. 

“I haven’t accomplished everything I want to do yet,” Mar said. “There’s a lot more I can do in the sport, and it’s my biggest passion.”

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