Published on February 16, 2017 | by Stefan Spiroff Photography by Humber Recreation0
Humber badminton duo wins national title
Nyl Yakura and partner Jason Ho-Shue won the men’s doubles national title at the Yonex National Championships that ran from Feb. 1-4 in Saskatoon, Sask.
The Humber College students won the finals in straight sets by scores of 27-25 and 21-16.
Both Yakura and Ho-Shue are second-year players on Humber College’s varsity badminton team, but Yakura, 23, has five years more experience than Ho-Shue, who is not his regular partner.
Ho-Shue filled in for Yakura’s regular partner Adam Dong at the Yonex tournament, who is not Canadian and couldn’t play nationals.
Yakura said he felt really good about winning the national title for Humber College.
“This tournament [Yonex] was definitely one of the best accomplishments of my career so far. I played in a few World Championships as well… the last one was in Denmark in 2014. Those were great memories, too,” Yakura said.
Yakura also has five Pan-Am championship gold medals on his resume. He earned his latest medal last April at the Pam-Am Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil—where he played doubles with Ho-Shue.
Even though they have played together before, Ho-Shue and Yakura struggled to find chemistry early on in the Yonex tournament.
“It was very rusty at first. We almost lost our first round, but we adjusted well with each other and tried to help each other as much as we could,” Ho-Shue said.
Dong said Yakura is a good mentor to his partners.
“We only practiced together for two months before we went to our first international tournament. He helps me not only the physical game, but also with how to break-through the mental wall,” he said.
Yakura comes from a family of badminton players. Both his parents played semi-professionally and encouraged him to start playing at the age of 10.
“My parents were a huge influence on me. They instilled a good work ethic in me. But there were also a few badminton icons that I looked up to at the time as well,” he said.
18-year-old Ho-Shue said Yakura was one of his childhood idols. He likes his swift playing style, and has tried to implement some of it into his own game.
“During his junior years, Nyl won a lot of tournaments so I aspired to win like him, too. I would take the stuff I liked about him and tried to put some of it into my game,” Ho-Shue said.
Ho-Shue is grateful to have been given the opportunity to play with Yakura twice.
“When I played with him, I felt like those shots actually had a meaning to them, whether it be to attack the opponents mental or to set up for the next shot,” Ho-Shue said.
The Yakura-Ho-Shue partnership has proved to be successful. The pair now has two international titles since they started playing together less than a year ago.
“It was nice to play with him [Ho-Shue] again since we both know each other pretty well. It worked out,” Yakura said.