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KIS Badminton Hosts First Home Game! And Celebrates Strong KAIAC Finishes!



This spring, Korea International School hosted its first (ever!) KAIAC badminton game. After the pandemic restricted competition during the inaugural 2020-2021 season, badminton players were ready to drop, smash, and push!

More than forty high school athletes joined the team this year. We caught up with Irene to learn more about the badminton program at KIS. Irene helped bring badminton to KIS. She transferred to KIS at the start of grade ten, arriving from a Korean public school where a middle school PE teacher first encouraged her badminton skills. “I like the dynamic of badminton,” Irene says. “Each rally is different.”

When Irene joined KIS, she expected to continue playing badminton but when she realized there was no team, she approached the principal of activities and athletics, Will Vreugdenhil. He remembers Irene advocating for a team. “She said, ‘I think KIS should have a badminton team,’” he says, “And I told her I agreed.” After that, Irene occasionally checked in with Mr. Vreugdenhil to see when the sport would open. She tried tennis but still missed badminton.

Later that year (2019-2020), KIS fielded a team but the pandemic cut the season short. Irene was glad to be back on the court. Matches were canceled the following school year too, but the team enjoyed scrimmages. As a singles player, Irene identifies grit and strategy as essential. During warm-ups and the first few rallies, she observes her opponent’s style. “Then I can change my response accordingly,” she says. To contrast, doubles players rely on clear communication and a strong rotation strategy. 

This season KIS played away games first, at Chadwick, GSIS, and SIS. The bus ride, nerves, and excitement felt good! The next two games were home. Athletes were glad to finally compete on their home court. The brief spring season gave each athlete a deep sense of camaraderie and joy. The team also celebrates strong KAIAC tournament finishes: Ian and Shiori made the mixed doubles quarterfinals, Ryosuke reached the boys singles quarterfinals, Isaac and Haruka placed second in mixed doubles, and Irene placed first in the girls singles!

Coaches Ashok Shanishetti and Ken Tsui are also proud of the team. “Considering the limited amount of experience playing in competitions, our students did a phenomenal job,” says Mr. Shanishetti. “Every athlete gave their best. We are genuinely proud of their accomplishments! A great beginning at KIS!”

Irene graduates from KIS this year. The badminton program is part of her legacy that benefits future athletes. As for continuing to play? Absolutely. Irene looks forward to joining her university’s badminton club.