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Pushing through the pain

By David Hamilton

  Karen Ng
 

Photo by Patrick Soltysiak

Georgian’s Karen Ng, 22, went promptly to the locker room after winning the OCAA provincial singles womens’ Badminton title.

“She’s icing her back after every game,” said Georgian head coach David Wesley.

“Last Sunday she was in an accident with an 18-wheeler,” he said. “She was lucky. I mean very lucky.”

Less than a week before the provincial championship Ng’s Toyota Rav4 crashed into a guardrail after being sideswiped by a transport truck on Highway 400. She suffered back and shoulder blade injuries. “I wasn’t going to let her play,” Wesley said. “She’s not playing 100 per cent but still was good enough to win here.”

Her mother, who had never seen her play before, flew in from New Brunswick to watch the tournament. “I’m surprised she didn’t cry,” she said. “I think she just tried to hide the pain.”

Ng admits it wasn’t easy to play while injured.

“I still have bruises from the seatbelt and whiplash,” Ng said. “And I was
already having back problems.”

Winning a provincial title has been a three-year battle for Ng.

Now in her first year studying dental hygiene at Georgian, she had previously
played doubles and mixed doubles in Alberta at the Northern Alberta
Institute of Technology.

Two seasons ago, she qualified for provincials in mixed doubles before her partner broke his foot and could not continue.

“Something always happens before provincials,” she said with a laugh. Last
season she lost by two points in the third match. Now she is the first
Georgian female to win gold at the Ontario championships.

This was the first year Ng had played in singles competition.

Karen Ng Close-up

Photo by Patrick Soltysiak

“Originally I wanted to play mixed,” she said.

But her coach insisted she go solo.

“He has more confidence in me than I do,” she said, adding that she still
doesn’t feel comfortable as a singles player.

“Doubles and mixed are different strategies, different game.”

Ng had been undergoing physiotherapy before the tournament to deal with
her injuries. “It wasn’t easy, I certainly had to work for it,” she said.

Wesley said he was making her take a week off before nationals.

He said Ng’s determination pulled her through her struggle.

“We’re proud of the fact that she didn’t give up,” he said.

Ng went on to compete at nationals in her home province of New Brunswick at Mount Allison University. She placed fourth and won the All-Canadian Team award.

She was also given The Eileen Harle Fairplay Plaque, awarded to a player who maintains a positive attitude and shows respect for other players.