Port Coquitlam club nets birdie awards

You get what you put in. And for Al Mawani, the rewards of his effort is paid back by the smiles of players at Shuttlesport Badminton Academy in Port Coqutilam.

Last month, Mawani received one of Badminton B.C.’s Best of B.C. awards. Shuttlesport’s Joy Liu was also named the junior athlete of the year, selected from more than 40 other nominees.

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Mawani, the founder and driving force of Shuttlesport, was also one of seven coaches up for the high performance coach award, and his academy was named club of the year.

“Our program has grown ever since we decided to move to a dedicated facility,” he said. “It’s real great to have (the recognition) because the success of the club involves everybody, from staff, coaches, parents and players.”

Mawani used to coach the badminton team at Douglas College. But when the school’s athletic department dropped the sport, he was forced to shift gear. In 2000, he launched Shuttlesport and four years later the academy moved to PoCo.

It now has 450 athletes, including 200 junior-aged players like Liu.

Mawani said the 12-year-old junior has great potential in the sport.

“I feel if she stays disciplined and keeps working hard, she has a bright future,” he said.

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