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Christophe – Bitten by the shuttle bug

Lebanon's 16-year-old Christophe Abe Younes was hell-bent to be an engineer for a career but all that has taken a 360-degree turn because of badminton.

He wants to be a professional badminton player first but has also not given up on his studies to earn his degree in engineering – and is confident he can divide his time between his two loves.

Christophe was very much into basketball and football in his extra-curricular activities. Those two sports have now taken a backseat, losing out to badminton.

Making his debut in the Badminton Asia Under-17 & Under-15 Junior Championships which are being held in the Indonesian city of Surabaya in East Java, Christophe came armed with his books so that he will not miss out on his studies.

The radical change in his career plans happened last year when he started enjoying the shuttle sport after he finished runners-up in the mixed doubles with Lyn Chomaysani in the West Asia Championships held in Lebanon.

He repeated the feat in Jordan this year. Christophe also made the semi-finals in the men's doubles with Ali Naim.

"This is when I started to enjoy the game after four years. If in the past I used to train once or twice a week it is now four to five times a week. It is tough for me because of the long school hours.

"But it is okay with me. I know how to divide my time. At the same time, I am prepared to walk the extra mile. You have to make sacrifices to achieve your aims," said Christophe who gave Thailand's Krittanai Chantara 21-16, 21-16 in his Round of 64 matches.

"My studies will be given equal importance. Should I not make the grade as a professional player in badminton, I will have an alternative to earn a living with my engineering degree. Badminton is also providing lucrative prize money to make it a career.

"I am prepared to give it a try. If all goes well I will make badminton as my career. I am very excited about the sport. My first outing in the Badminton Asia U17 & U15 Junior Championships has further fueled my adrenalin."  

After Surabaya, Christophe – a student at Mont La Salle in Beirut – will head to Cyberjaya for Badminton Asia's Olympic Project training camp from Dec 15-23. 

On his return to Beirut, it will be exam time for Christophe.

His target is to make the grade for the next Youth Olympics, scheduled to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2022.


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