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This Easter, players from the University Badminton Team travelled to Malaysia for a two-week badminton training camp and cultural exchange. This is the third visit to partner University, Sunway, for the team. This time, however, the badminton training was far more intense in preparation for Roses.
Organised by Lancaster University Overseas Team and Sunway Cultural Exchange Team, the players were treated to daily training from two coaches from Duo Sparks Academy. Both coaches are former Malaysia National Team players, with one coach reaching as high as world number 28! Add in halls with 30+ degree heat and you have a formula for extreme training!
After two hours of training, the team had a quick break for food before travelling around Kuala Lumpur to play friendly matches against various other University and Academy teams. Opposition often included ex-state players who, in the words of captain Alistair, “just get everything back!!”. The days would total around 5-6 hours of playing time.
Slotted in as rest days, the team experienced various cultural activities, including; a Malaysian food tour, religions days, and a trip to the Sunway Lagoon Water Park – yes, it’s not exactly ‘cultural’ but as they say, “when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do”. The team found these days particularly interesting as many members of the badminton team are from Malaysia and so it is a chance to explore the home country of teammates and it also allows us to appreciate why they all complain about British food so much!
As this is the third trip to the same University, numerous friendships have been formed with Sunway students and most evenings would end with food at one of Malaysia’s random street cafes. The whole team will agree that these are some of the best times in the trip as we share great food and experiences with Sunway students, some of whom are completing Lancaster Degrees, and as we try and convince them to come to Lancaster to complete their degree and join our team! *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* LUSU… Any scholarships available yet??
Men’s First Team Captain, Alistair Hawgood, commented: “This trip has been the perfect preparation for Roses. We’ve had world class coaching, match play against opposition far, far better than York and are feeling match fit! We’ve loved having another chance to explore this fantastic country and we hope the exchange can continue in the future. Now, all focus is on Roses. We need to maintain this form ready for a big win in May!”.
The team would like to thank Tom Fox from Lancaster Overseas and Sue-Ann, Carlyn, Mr. Mok, Suresh and Scott from Sunway Student Life for all their organisation. Also, a big thank you to Daphne and Sabrina from Duo Sparks for their coaching and of course to all players that came along to play matches and get the team ready to win Roses!