Thompson wins national championship and prestigious award
SUMMERSIDE – It’s been quite a 2013-14 season for Pat Thompson.
© Photo courtesy of Vancouver Island University
Pat Thompson, left, of Summerside and Graydon Robb of Calgary receive congratulations from Vancouver Island University president Ralph Nilson after being named co-recipients of the male athlete of the year award.
The Summerside native recently completed his fifth year at Vancouver Island University (VIU), won a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) national badminton championship and was named the co-recipient of the male athlete of the year award with his doubles partner, Graydon Robb of Calgary, Alta.
“I was a little bit surprised because badminton doesn’t get as much recognition as some of the other sports like basketball and volleyball,” said Thompson in describing his reaction to receiving the prestigious award.
Thompson has competed in singles, doubles and mixed in all five years at VIU. The highlight of his career to date was winning the CCAA doubles title with Robb in March. They defeated a team from British Columbia in three hard-fought sets – 21-19, 16-21, 21-16 – in the championship match.
“It was definitely the biggest win of my career so far,” said Thompson. “It was exciting.”
How did Robb, who is in his first year at VIU, and Thompson end up as teammates?
“It was his first year at VIU this year, and we are both singles players,” answered Thompson. “We both played a lot of singles throughout the year, even against each other.
“But the way the college circuit works is each school can only send one representative to the provincial championship in each division – one singles player, one doubles team, one mixed team.
“Instead of Graydon and I fighting for the singles position, we decided to play doubles.”
Thompson and Robb also competed in the recent under-23 age-group nationals in British Columbia. Thompson made it to the quarter-finals in singles, and teamed with Robb in doubles, losing the consolation final.
Thompson, who was recruited to VIU on a badminton scholarship, described his progress at the collegiate level as a process. For example, along with a demanding course load, the VIU badminton team practises four days a week, and outside of team practices Thompson would hit a couple of times a week and work on fitness.
“The first couple of years it was getting used to being in university and juggling that with playing sports and travelling on the weekends. Also, getting used to the higher level of play. In my third, fourth and fifth years, I was able to get used to it and start to play a little better and get some better results.” Pat Thompson
“The first couple of years it was getting used to being in university and juggling that with playing sports and travelling on the weekends,” said Thompson. “Also, getting used to the higher level of play.
“In my third, fourth and fifth years, I was able to get used to it and start to play a little better and get some better results.”
Thompson said the biggest improvement he has made in his game in the last couple of years is on the “mental” side.
“I did some work through my third and fourth year with a mental coach at the school,” added Thompson, who began playing badminton while a student at Greenfield Elementary School in Summerside. “That helped me make the jump to a better player.”
Started in elementary school
One individual, Thompson said, who has had a big impact on his career is longtime local coach and volunteer Margaret Parslow.
“She (Parslow) was my coach from junior high through to high school,” continued Thompson. “She still helps out a bit when I’m here in the summer. . . She got me started, and put me on a right course at an early age.
“Any court time I needed or any tournaments I needed to get to she was always the one I would talk to about going, or helping me get funding to travel. She was a really big part.”
At A Glance
A look at Pat Thompson:
Parents: Ross and Judy Thompson.
School: Three Oaks Senior High School graduate in 2009.
University: Vancouver Island University (VIU) biology graduate. Plans to continue his education through masters or another program.
Awards: Co-recipient of VIU’s male-athlete-of-the-year and a Pac-West all-star.