Quick racquets sweep into UWEC

A little birdie unites cultures at the Badminton Club

More stories from Ryan Huling

Right in the McPhee gyms, students are playing one of the fastest racquet sports in the world: badminton.

Seng Juan, a fourth-year finance student and the Badminton Club president, was the man who started the Badminton Club in 2018. Since then, it has grown and the club currently sits at around 50 active members.

“I have a very good passion for badminton,” Juan said. “With the help of the current committee, we created the club back in November of last year.”

Juan began playing badminton when he was seven years old. Many of the club members began playing when they were very young, as well. Simon Yap Jing Voon, a third-year linguistics and sociology student, began playing when he was eight years old and third-year Social Work student, Josiah Lee, began when he was just four.

Juan said he has a lot of fun being a part of the club.

“Badminton is a fun sport, I can tell you that,” Juan said. “It is also a good way to work out and, it’s a game for two at least, so you get to make friends. It’s a “one-shot-fit-all” kind of thing.”

The club sets up five or six courts for each practice to allow a large amount of games for many different skill levels.

“We match them up to the best of our abilities,” Juan said. “There are some players who are on the higher end there are some that are beginners. So, we try to pair up the beginners together and just let them play.”

While it can be high speed, Voon said the club and sport are both very inviting to new players.

“Players that I know have experience in badminton, I will definitely play more competitively against,” Voon said. “Whereas players who just want to play for fun, I will just tag along and have fun with. If there’s ever too many people, we can just take turns, that’s the fun of it. It’s a sport that doesn’t require much body contact but you can have a lot of fun with.”

More than just a good way to stay healthy, the sport allows players to create a relationship with those who are playing.

“In general, I think [I play] to have fun,” Voon said. “And also to bond with the people that I’m playing with because badminton, yeah, I realize is a good sport for players to actually interact and bond.”

Juan said Malaysia, where he and many of the club members are from, is the “hub for badminton.” But, Voon said he would like to see the sport expand into something all UW-Eau Claire students have an interest in.

“I would love to see more of the locals come,” Voon said. “Because we’ve had a few Americans come and join us and most of them have said they really enjoy themselves. I really want to take this opportunity to create an awareness so more of the locals here can know about this sport and come and join us.”

Lee said it’s not a large commitment and, like Juan and Voon said, it’s about the fun.

“We play badminton just to sweat and have fun,” Lee said. “We don’t play it very competitively here. We are trying to expand the club so more people know about the club and the sport itself because badminton isn’t a very famous and popular sport here in the states. It’s fun when you can get somewhere to release your stress from studies and all that stuff.”

The semester may be wrapping up, but the Badminton Club will meet at least one more time in the McPhee Gym 210C from 2-4pm on Sunday, May 12.


Huling can be reached at [email protected].