Magical badminton… and little sleep for Éric Desroches

He still has trouble getting to sleep, but Éric Desroches certainly won’t complain.

The Acadian referee experienced another great moment in his career last week by participating in the World Badminton Championships in Nanjing, China.

The physical education teacher at the Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany in Edmundston was one of two Canadian officials to take part in this prestigious event.

It was his fifth world championship, after those of Alor Setor Kedah in Malaysia (2009), London in England (2011), Guangzhou in China (2013) and Glasgow in Scotland (2017).

“I’ve been to China a few times, but I had a hard time recovering from this trip. When you come back from Asia, your nights sleep is quite disturbed. At 2 or 3 a.m., I can’t sleep anymore!” he laughs.

Éric Desroches says he only concentrates on the wheel, regardless of the importance of the game in front of him. – Courtesy

“It was a dream tournament, a magical tournament. I had a very good competition and I had the honor of making one of the five finals (the men’s singles). This is the game that all officials want to have.

Accompanied by 24 of his colleagues, the Acadian had the experience of a lifetime.
“When you’re in China, you play a final match, you have a Chinese on your field and you’re in an arena filled with 18,000 people, you tell yourself that it’s just crazy,” he says. -he.

“We explain that to people here and they have a little difficulty understanding. Badminton is their national sport there. The Chinese are maniacs and fanatics as it is not possible. When you turn on the television, it’s not hockey that you see, it’s badminton on several channels. When the world championships are presented there, there is an incredible frenzy.

Except that when he finds himself sitting on his big chair, Éric Desroches locks himself in his bubble and the rest of the world no longer exists.

“I’ll tell you, it’s spinning fast in my head. But as long as you know you’re in a final, with a Chinese on your pitch and crowded bleachers, you can’t think of anything other than what’s happening in front of you,” he said.

“When the steering wheel is in the air, there is no question of blinking. You don’t let him out of sight. Now is not the time to make a mistake. There were a dozen cameras and about thirty photographers next to the field. If you make a mistake, within five minutes everyone on the planet knows it.”

Except that Éric Desroches is now an old hand. He has seen many others.

“I’ve been playing fairly important matches all over the world for three or four years. You end up getting used to it. We still have stage fright, but once the steering wheel is in play, it just becomes another game. You have to be as ready as the athletes. The pressure is just as great.”

In total, he worked in 18 games in China, either as match referee or service judge.

His schedule will continue to be quite busy over the next few months.

In November, he is expected to compete at the Junior World Championships in Toronto.

He could also be chosen to officiate at the 2019 World Championships, which will be presented in Basel, Switzerland.

In July 2019, it will be the Junior Pan American Championships, which will take place in Moncton.

This will be the first time in nearly 40 years that these championships will be hosted in Atlantic Canada.

And in the spring of 2019, Éric Desroches will know if he is participating in his second Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, after those in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Hopefully he’ll have had some time to sleep by then…

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