The Mounties: Suzuha Tanaka
Badminton Mountie Suzuha Tanaka came to Mount Allison from Osaka, Japan. She was eager to study in Canada and develop her English. After her first winter semester, she returned in the fall with her badminton racket and sneakers looking to get back into the game.
“I like Canada so much,” she says. “I think the most enjoyable part for me right now is being able to play badminton while I go to school and continue to learn English.”
Tanaka began playing badminton in junior high. She says her favourite part of the game is the team aspect.
“Everyone thinks it’s an individual sport,” she says. “But if you play really well or don’t play well, the result comes back to the team in your final score.”
Both a singles and doubles player, she is concentrating on singles this season. In her first year, Mount Allison won the ACAA Badminton Championship and she was named the team’s rookie of the year. In her second year, she earned the opportunity to go to nationals.
Mount Allison will be hosting the ACAA Badminton Championships from February 16-17 and Tanaka says the team is excited.
“Last year we lost by one point, so we have the confidence to take back first place at home,” she says.
Tanaka and her teammates practice three times a week, but she says the team has put in a lot of work outside of practice in order to prepare for the championships. When it comes to game time, she says emotional control is her greatest strength.
“I can control myself and I am not emotional at all during the game,” she says.
A Commerce student, Tanaka has been involved in MOSAIC, the mentorship program, and as a lab assistant in Japanese. She says being a student-athlete has added a lot to her university experience.
“Before joining badminton, I was just focusing on my studies,” she says. “Playing badminton, I thought I wouldn’t have as much time for my studies, but now I know how to manage my time and my grades are getting better.”
Tanaka is currently focusing on the accounting stream and is planning to return to Japan after graduation.