The Conclusion of the 2018 Butterfly Canadian Junior Championships
(By Natasha Carr-Harris)
At the pinnacle of the Junior competition, spectators and supporters, teammates and coaches all congregated around the gym’s showcase table for two thrilling Singles Finals matches.
The Girls Finals featured an intense match between Patrina Hui (BC) and Ivy Liao (BC). In the end, it was Ivy Liao who prevailed with a score of 3-2.
The Boys Final, strife with victory yells and a very involved crowd, was an showdown between Edward Ly (QC) and Jeremy Hazin (ON). In the end, it was Hazin who conquered Ly 3-1, securing himself the champion title.
Hazin, who had recently expressed a desire to defend his title as Junior Champion, managed to do just that. Unlike previous years when he’d felt excited about winning, his third consecutive win was met with a sense of relief, “since I was defending a [title] I’d previously won,” he says.
With the impending Senior Championships impending, Hazin now has ambitions to win the Men’s Singles event. “It’s the main reason I’m here. When you win, you have that title as the official National Champion.”
Ly may have lost the match against Hazin, but he still leaves the Junior competition with the Cadet Singles Champion title under his belt. He suggests his earlier victory buoyed up his moods and allowed him to advance so far in the Junior category. “I was really confident. When I started my match against Jeremy, I was really pumped up.”
In lieu of shaking hands, the two friends clapped each other on the back with amiable grins.
“We see each other at international tournaments. He’s even stayed at my house. We’re really close friends,” Hazin remarks. When asked how he navigates the waters between maintaining a friendship off court and being adversaries on court, Hazin candidly admits there’s an emotional element to it. “I know people say when you play “there’s no friendship” but when I play a friend, I do feel bad when I win.”
But competition is still competition, Hazin concludes. Ly seems to concur with his friend on this. “We’re friends off court, but on the table, it’s game time. You need to fight and [not] feel bad for the opponent.”
Like Hazin, Ly now turns his attention to the Senior events. “I would like to get a medal in any event.” He expresses an additional hope to win gold in the team’s event for Team Quebec.
At the end of the day, both have played spectacularly. Only time will tell if they can fulfill their goals for the Senior events.