‘Ready but not ready’ is exactly how Will Lee, the country’s top Men’s badminton player feels going into the National Badminton Championships ‘Nationals’ from March 18-22 at the National Racquet Centre in Orange Grove, Tacarigua.
His dominance stems from his triple crown success at the Solo Nationals where he claimed the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles last year, to add to his singles and men’s doubles titles at the Badminton Nationals for the same year.
Yesterday, Lee, the Shuttle Force standout said the level of competition expected has been a demotivator for him. Because of this, he told Guardian Media Sports that although he has been in training, he has not been putting out the amount of work that he wants to. “I have only been putting in enough work to seal my titles, but I am not encouraged to do more because there aren’t many players to compete with.”
Not surprising, Lee’s toughest challenger would have been his Shuttle Force teammate Alistair Espinoza who dominated among the men for the past few years before having to give way to Lee.
However, Espinoza, will not contest the singles event, and will instead suit-up for the men’s doubles alongside Lee.
Apart from Espinoza, Lee said another player he always looked forward to facing was Naim Mohammed, who is pursuing his studies abroad. In the singles, Lee set to be up against a field that includes Leon Cassie, Vance Juteram, Amir Mahabir, Nathaniel Khillawan, Angelo Thompson, Brandon Graham and Joshua Smith, among others.
Lee also singled out emerging talent Reece Marcano who he believes will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Marcano is expected to compete in the under-17 and u-19 divisions. Lee teams up with Espinoza for the men’s doubles before combining with Jada Renales, another Shuttle Force and national standout, who returns to competition last year after a self-imposed hiatus.
Renales who dominated the women’s game some three to four years ago, returned with a bang in October last year, when she and Lee clinched the mixed doubles titles of the Solo Nationals.
Meanwhile, Chequeda Deboulet is likely to continue her domination in the women’s singles and women’s doubles.
Deboulet who has been abroad on a much-needed rest period was expected to resume training ahead of the competition. Like Lee, she will have her work cut out for her, facing Ananda Ramsingh, Shania Lee and Rachael Ragoonanan.