Welcome to my new website – BadmintonJustin! In August 2019, I started this project as a way to share and spread badminton with the world and track my own progress. BadmintonJustin started off as a simple Instagram page, where I posted short clips or highlights of my badminton training – I knew badminton tournament clips and other match highlights were out there, but didn’t see much of anything for badminton specific training only. It started off with 150 followers (mostly my friends I knew in real life) and now I am almost at my first milestone of 1,000 (shout out to my new friends and fans in India)!
I recently expanded the BadmintonJustin brand into YouTube, aiming to create longer versions of the training highlight videos, and in the future, post tournament clips, travel vlogs, and more! If you’re interested in any of these, please be sure to check out my channel linked above and leave a like and a subscribe!
This website is meant as a way for me to feature my recent YouTube videos as well as share my thoughts on anything badminton related or else going on in my life. I have many big plans coming down the line for the BadmintonJustin brand, so stay tuned, and thanks for following!
For a more complete understanding of what this project is and how I came to start it, I’ll need to start by sharing some background about myself.
I started playing badminton at the age of 10 when my brother picked up badminton in high school and started training himself. I started taking lessons at a local gym, but shortly after began training more seriously at Bintang Badminton – where I have been training until today! Since I started training, I have participated and won in prestigious national and international tournaments, including various US Junior Nationals Titles in singles, doubles, and mixed, Pan American Junior International Titles in singles, and a top 32 finish at the World Junior Championships in doubles.
After wrapping up my junior career (and high school), I went on to study at UC Berkeley (go bears!!!). It felt amazing to be accepted, as I knew this was one of the only schools in the nation where I could continue playing badminton due to their competitive badminton team. In the first 4 months, I continued with my rigorous training schedule – training 6 days a week on my own on and off the court. But in November 2015, I had a severe injury with a minor tear in my left knee’s meniscus as well as a MCL sprain. This took me off the court as well as any real physical activity for over 4 months. It was during this time I decided to focus on my studies, enjoy my time at college, and continue playing badminton just as a hobby.
Over the next 3 years at UC Berkeley, I continued to play badminton but mostly recreationally with the team without spending any time doing actual training. Fortunately, our team was still able to take home 3 years of Collegiate National titles and I was also able to win titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles!
In my last year at UC Berkeley, a former competitor (and former doubles partner, and good friend) Vinson Chiu also began attending UC Berkeley. He had a strong will to continue training during school and push himself towards training for the Olympics (he eventually took a hiatus and trained professionally to aim towards the 2020 Olympics). His drive and passion for the sport was amazing to see and started to rekindle some of the passion I once had, and I ended up playing much more than I had in the previous semesters.
In December 2018, I graduated (half a year early) from UC Berkeley and began working full time as a software engineer at Twitch. After starting work, I mostly stopped playing badminton again aside from participating in local tournaments. What comes next, though, is what really drove me back to the sport.
In the summer of 2019, I took a 2 month break from work and went on my “Senior Trip” to Southeast Asia. I made it a point to delete all my social media, use little virtual communication, and focus solely on the trip and the things I could learn. I spent two months abroad in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia – traveling alone and meeting up with local friends at different points in the trip. I had also brought my badminton rackets and gear along with me, just in case I had any opportunity to play. Turns out, I had more than enough chances to play. I played in every country I traveled to, and was even invited to play some local tournaments while I was staying there. I was also able to make new friends (who I still keep in touch with!) in each of the places I traveled to! I even had the chance to play against top (current and former) players around the world, like Simon Santoso (former Indonesia Open Winner).
This trip made me certain that I wanted continue playing badminton when I got back to the USA and to get back to serious training so I had more opportunities like this in the future. I went back to Bintang Badminton and began training with my coach in September 2019. Knowing that I had to focus on my physical strength (something I was severely lacking in as a junior player), I started training with a personal trainer in SF – Gavin Birmingham (amazing coach and an even better person!). Since September 2019, I have been training consistently every week, giving it my all just for a chance to chase my dreams. I dream to share badminton with the world and one day reach the Olympics.
I appreciate all the tremendous support from my family, friends and everyone else out there. I’m really excited and happy to share everything about my journey, and hope that you all can join me. I will be writing more about specific badminton training, in-depth game analysis of professional matches, and just about anything related to badminton – with the goal of spreading the popularity of badminton in the US. Thanks for reading and see you guys in the next one!