by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Participation wise, the sport of badminton, according to various internet website searches, is ranked No. 2 - No. 5 in the world with more than 220 million people smashing the shuttlecock.
No doubt amongst those numbers are a lot of young players learning and perfecting their game.
Now imagine that you have a Badminton World Federation (BWF) No. 53 world ranking in men's singles for players under 19 years-of-age?
That's pretty impressive to say the least.
Relating to the sport of amateur hockey...that would make you a Round 1 or Round 2 selection in the NHL draft.
Say hello to Kings University Eagles' badminton star Narayan Ramdhani.
It was in early 2016 that Ramdhani, a native of Guyana, reached that No. 53 spot with the No. 54 polling going to Canadian Jason Anthony Ho-Shue.
In the Pan-American district Ramdhani reached a prestigious No. 3 ranking in Juniors while No. 1 status came his way for the Caribbean.
Ramdhani, a 6-foot right hander, is currently enrolled in Business at the Edmonton-based school.
But he is no stranger to Canadian post-secondary as he had attended Douglas College (Vancouver BC) for two years, studying Sports Science while training at the prestigious Shuttlesport Badminton Academy.
While on Canada's west coast, the Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica native captured several championships, including men's singles at the Under-23 2017 Vancouver Rackets Club (VRC) Remembrance Day Open and Jack VCR Jack Underhill Open Singles Tournament.
Heading east the winning ways continue.
At the recent Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) badminton season opener, hosted by the Eagles, he captured the men's singles defeating NAIT Ooks' Luc-Ly Nguyen 21-18, 21-10, Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder's Desomd Wang 21-7, 21-9, Olds Broncos' Colton Grier 21-14, 21-14, Thunder's Braxton Wong 21-16 21-17, Ooks' Ronuelle Medina 21-17 21-14 and Ooks' Tyler Walsh 21-17 21-13.
Of his introduction to the ACAC, Ramdhani, 20, said: "It is pretty good and competitive and I had some good matches. I already knew a lot of the other players as they also train at the (Edmonton) B-Active Badminton."
|Narayan with sister Priyanna|
The sport of badminton is part of his family folklore, his father Gokram, who competed internationally in the 1980s', is current President of the Guyana Badminton Association and second Vice President of the Central America & Caribbean Badminton Confederation.
His sister Priyanna 16, is currently ranked No. 171 in women's singles and her country's champion.
"I can't remember when I wasn't playing badminton," states Ramdhani, who graduated from Marian Academy.
"I practice eight hours a week on the court and five hours off the court a week. I work on in the gym and do running and stuff and lift weights. Not too heavy though...more reps than lifting."
Ramdhani has traveled the world playing the sport, be it a Pan American Games or Commonwealth Games spot.
Australia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Suriname just to name a few stop overs.
Ramdhani has also shown his talents in men's doubles and mixed doubles, evident by a triple gold at the 2016 Suriname Easter International.
Named Guyana's 2015 Junior Sportsman of the Year, Ramdhani, who also enjoys lacing up the sneakers or cleats for hoops, cricket or soccer, says he relocated to Canada because of its badminton culture.
"I think Canada has the best badminton programs on this side of the world. You guys have the best overall program. There are also a lot of Asian players and badminton is pretty big for them."
Of his selection to attend Kings.
"I knew about Kings through my coach as he was friends with (Eagles badminton coach Naeem Haque). He wanted me here two years ago but it did not work out. I am here now and I am glad that I came."
Ramdhani is the face of Guyana badminton and hopes to one day qualify for the Olympic Games.
"That is my main goal to represent (Guyana) at the Olympics. That is what I am driving for."
The national men's single champion of Guyana (population 780,000) for several years now, he admits that he still developing his craft on the hardwood.
"I still have lots to learn because I am pretty young. I need to get faster and keep working out while knowing how to place the shuttle better. Just my overall game needs to improve. My weakness is my backhand...my backhand shot."
There are only 15 current Canadian players which are higher on the BWF world rankings - the best being Jason Anthony Ho-Shue at No. 70.
Former NAIT Ooks' Imran Wadia – back-to-back ACAC men's doubles gold 2016-2018 – is ranked at 1,003 in men's singles.
On the world scene, Ramdhani is currently ranked by the BWF at 692 in men's singles, 745 in men's doubles while mixed doubles find him rated 747.
Not a bad ranking out of 220 million.