Napasorn (Rose) Thinnakorn – a just-turned-14-year-old international student from Thailand – has won eight tournaments, including the Huron-Perth junior title
It wasn’t until the third tryout that Carly McLeod knew she was dealing with a special player.
The Mitchell District High School badminton coach watched Napasorn (Rose) Thinnakorn – a just-turned-14-year-old international student from Thailand – crush each player she faced, including some three or four years older.
“I’m like, ‘Ok, this person can play badminton very well,’” McLeod said in between matches at the Huron-Perth junior championships this week at the Stratford Agriplex.
Thinnakorn went undefeated to win the junior girls gold medal. It was her third junior tournament title this season to go with a pair of senior championships.
“In terms of coaching her, she is so coachable in that she really wants to hear what you have to say, even though what I have to say to her she knows and does it all,” McLeod said. “She’s very strong. She hasn’t come up against too many who have pushed her, but she’s very hard on herself. When she loses a couple points she does not like it.”
That hasn’t been much of an issue for Thinnakorn, at least while she’s been competing against area high school opponents in southwestern Ontario. She said she wins once or twice every 10 matches against friends back home, so the recent hot streak has been a confidence boost for a player who is technically sound and surprisingly strong.
“I’m so surprised. I didn’t expect that I’m going to be No. 1.”
Thinnakorn is still learning how to manage expectations. The mental and emotional side of her game is catching up to her physical abilities on the court.
“If I miss the birdie, I think, ‘Why did I miss it?’” she said. “And I will fix that.
“It’s very helpful. When I came here I had more positive thinking. If I have negative thinking, I will think I can’t win.”
With bigger events on the horizon, Thinnakorn practises with both the MDHS juniors and seniors. Unlike the start of tryouts, it’s no secret just how good she is and how much better she wants to be.
“My goal right now is to win WOSSAA. If I can do it it’s going to be the best experience for me. I can talk with my teachers, my friends, with everyone about it, and I will be proud of myself.”
The senior WOSSAA tournament is April 25 in Strathroy, while the junior event is April 30 in London.