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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Freshman Josh Xu’s Badminton Journey is a ‘Smashing’ Success

Global+Badminton+Academy+athlete+and+freshman+Josh+Xu+lunges+down+to+attack+the+shuttlecock+at+a+tournament+in+Frisco%2C+Texas+on+Jan+16.+%E2%80%9CI+always+want+to+do+good+in+my+tournaments+and+avoid+falling+down%2C%E2%80%9D+Xu+said.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+really+easy+for+a+badminton+player+to+fall+down+at+some+point.+Sometimes+when+I+lose%2C+I+become+a+little+depressed%2C+but+I+still+try+to+be+positive+and+go+train.%E2%80%9D
Courtesy of Chris Do
Global Badminton Academy athlete and freshman Josh Xu lunges down to attack the shuttlecock at a tournament in Frisco, Texas on Jan 16. “I always want to do good in my tournaments and avoid falling down,” Xu said. “It’s really easy for a badminton player to fall down at some point. Sometimes when I lose, I become a little depressed, but I still try to be positive and go train.”

Whether it’s a sports game or a particular school subject, there is typically one activity that tops every student’s list as their absolute favorite. For Global Badminton Academy athlete and freshman Josh Xu, badminton always takes the top spot. 

After being introduced to badminton by his mother at the age of 8, Xu immediately became fond of the sport. Even amidst an international move from China to the United States in 2016, he maintained his strong dedication to mastering the sport, according to Xu. 

“When I had just moved here, I wasn’t actually thinking about training a lot,” Xu said. “But after a while and after trying other sports as well, I started realizing that badminton was the only sport I liked and the only one that I wanted to commit to. So from then on, I just started training, and there really weren’t any difficulties except for maybe the language barrier.”

His dedication and hard work are displayed in his intense training and his commitment to improving his skills has resulted in immense growth over the years, according to Xu’s coach Kennevic Asuncion. To win tournaments, Xu practices his coordination and reaction time as a combination of both is needed for executing quick, precise shots and responding effectively to his opponents’ plays.

“If we’re talking about 100%, he trains like 150%, more than he is capable of, to go all out in every training,” Asuncion said. “You have to be patient and work hard every single day. It’s like they say, ‘You keep working and working and working until you get your goals.’ That’s the key in every other sport. You have to keep working until you reach it.”

Off the court, Xu demonstrates sportsmanship by leading younger teammates in drills and cheering them on, according to Asuncion. After practices at the Arena Badminton and Sports Club, he often stays behind to do drills and asks coaches for feedback on improving his technique, which has helped him address his weaknesses effectively, according to Asuncion. These extra efforts are necessary to excel in a sport like badminton, in which physical injury and burnout are common, according to Xu’s mother Ping Geng. 

“Badminton is a little bit different from other sports because of the situation that American players are put in,” Geng said. “Every tournament has over 600 players and requires a lot of travel and playing three events: single, double and mix. These American tournaments usually take three days, and you have to play at least six to nine matches per day.”

Despite the physical challenges, Xu’s relentless pursuit of success on the court distinguishes him as an athlete destined to one day represent and champion a greater cause, according to Asuncion. 

“Every coach loves him as a student because he’s truly working for it,” Asuncion said. “I hope he continues [playing badminton] because I am hoping that someday he could be number one in the world. Hopefully, he will help the U.S. become famous in badminton.”

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About the Contributors
Aditi Salunkhe
Aditi Salunkhe, Assistant Sports Editor
Aditi Salunkhe is the Assistant Sports Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. When she’s not stressing about final draft deadlines, you can find her watching true crime documentaries or going on long runs with her cross country teammates. In her freetime, she often reads mystery books in bed with her favorite snacks.
Alice Ahn
Alice Ahn, Social Media Team
Alice Ahn is the co-social media manager for her first year on the Portola Pilot. As a new staff writer, she feels honored to have her work on newspaper pages and the internet for the very first time. Apart from proofreading her own writing an unhealthy number of times, Alice frequents novels with entrancing titles but mediocre plots. She wants to make the most out of not only this school year, but also her Spotify Premium subscription, and would love to hear any of your music recommendations.
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