Photo by Tanvi Mai Senior Wesley Szeto leaps into the air with his racket raised high above his head as his arm stretches out to mark where his ‘jump smash’ shot will land. “This shot requires a lot of energy, but since I’m a player that can put power to my shots and I’m known for my powerful ‘smashes,’ the ‘jump smash’ is definitely my signature shot.”

Szeto seizes seasonal sports opportunities

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Senior Wesley Szeto’s family pushed him into athletics, resulting in his current placement on the football, badminton, and track and field teams. Szeto embraced his love for badminton and began training at a club for three hours every day. 

After winning multiple tournaments and earning a high ranking in U.S. badminton age categories U11, U13, U15, and U17, Szeto was able to start playing competitively at national and international tournaments. He acknowledges that it taught him how to improve his technique and teamwork as he learned his weaknesses. 

“By playing too aggressive[ly], I fatigue and drain myself out causing me to hit unnecessary shots or miss shots that even a beginner can hit,” Szeto said. “In order to regain my stamina I would try to slow the game down by playing less aggressively and taking small breathers after each round.”

Despite winning multiple tournaments and making improvements in badminton, Szeto wanted to expand his athletic abilities and decided to participate in more sports. He joined football but felt as if he could do more, inspiring him to join the track and field team. 

“I like being an athlete, and I love doing things that require a lot of energy,” Szeto said. “My favorite is to compete against players who are as good as me. It’s always fun to see what their capabilities are. Since I’m playing against someone who I’ve never played before, the game becomes harder, but it’s fun for me because I always have a strategy and a set of shots I like to do each round in order to find the opponents’ weaknesses.”

He looked up to and learned from his teammates in football and track and field to improve.

“A lot of them have more knowledge and strategy than I do,” Szeto said. “When they got the chance to help me during my games, I took the advice and applied it when I played.” 

Since there are completely different atmospheres among the three sports, Szeto experiences various levels of intensity and teamwork, all the while playing at his peak performance. 

“Football is a different environment because those people are mentally tough and physically tough,” Szeto said. “You’re going to be out there against guys hitting you and tackling you, but in badminton, it is an indoor sport that’s more [about] technique and stamina and endurance. For track and field, it’s all you, it’s just you because I’m in throws, so it’s however you perform.”

Szeto transformed his life through sports, from sitting down on his computer the entire day to actively participating in multiple sports. He credits his coaches for training him to be successful and pushing him to do his best.

“I was a couch potato before I started playing sports,” Szeto said. “Playing sports helped me keep fit; if I hadn’t played sports, I would probably be twice my size. It also taught me many lessons like practice makes [perfect] and never quit because [then] you’ll never get anywhere in life.”

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