Sharon Ng '16 Plays Badminton for Team USA in Kazan, Russia

July 9, 2013

This week, Sharon Ng ’16 competes in badminton as a member of Team USA at the 2013 World University Games, held in Kazan, Russia, from July 6 to 17. The team’s appearance marks the first time that badminton will be included as part of the wide-ranging international competition, also known as the Summer Universiade.

After learning to play at age 11, Ng (now 19) made it to the quarterfinals at the USA Adult National Championships in 2011 and won the silver medal at the same competition in 2012. She represented the United States in the Pan Am Junior Championships four times, and won gold in both the Under-22 and Under-19 divisions at the Winter Junior Badminton Internationals in 2010. Both she and her three teammates are based in California’s Bay Area, according to Mercury News.

The team was also featured recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote with pride about the dominance of the Bay Area in the sport in this country, but portrayed the challenges for serious players, such as Ng and her University Games doubles partner Danae Long, who attend college in other parts of the country. Badminton isn’t yet an official sport of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which means players are on their own once out of the junior level. “The thing about badminton is most college students don't have time for it, so it's not something they can commit to,” Ng told the Chronicle.

Ng has committed, clearly, but badminton is not her only sport. She competes for Wellesley Blue in cross country as well as track and field. In an interview for the Wellesley Blue website, Ng said that because of her experience in badminton, “I understood what it took to improve and achieve my goals. The determination and dedication I put into badminton carries over to not only my academics but also cross country and track.” She plans to major in economics.

Wellesley will be cheering for Ng throughout the Summer Universiade. (As of this posting, she had won a singles match over Estonia, lost a doubles match to Russia; and was in the midst of a singles match against Indonesia.) You can follow the progress of Team USA in Kazan on Twitter @WUGUSA or @USABadminton, or the Universiade badminton results page.