Ex national badminton player Sylvia has no regrets pursuing full time studies

Former national badminton player Sylvia Kavita Kumares (third from right) with the young children she is coaching at the OSC Munchen in Germany. She recently set up a badminton academy of her own in Germany, fulfilling a life long dream. She hopes to open up one in Malaysia upon her return.

MUNICH, June 15 – Former national badminton player Sylvia Kavita Kumares, 26, made a bold decision few years back. She decided to quit being a national badminton player to pursue her studies full time in sports.

It was not an easy decision and neither did it get the full support of her parents initially. Badminton was her passion and she had invested so much in pursuing it full time and doing so well, so why was she quitting halfway, were the reasonings her parents gave her to persuade her to change her mind.

No, she was not quitting badminton, she made that clear. Sports had given so much to her and she planned to contribute back to the sport what she could, but she just wanted to not miss out on furthering her studies.

“There were arguments, a lot of crying, but I stuck to my decision and today there are no regrets,” Sylvia told Weekly Echo in a recent zoom interview from Germany.

Sylvia, who takes great pride in her “wonderful mix of Indian and Chinese parentage” is currently pursuing her Masters in Sports and Exercise Science at the Technical University of Munich and also coaches kids at the OSC Munchen part time, while actively competing in the local badminton tournament circuit, German Bundesliga.

She also recently started running her own badminton academy in Germany coaching teenagers and adults and fulfilling a life-long dream of opening up a badminton academy of her own.  

“I hope to open up a badminton academy in Malaysia as well when I come back,” enthused the fresh-faced, no make-up Sylvia, who also happens to be the sister of former Miss Universe Malaysia 2015 Vanessa Tevi Kumares.

Apart from the studies and coaching, life is pretty much normal here, Sylvia said, adding that she also enjoys yoga, cycling, board-game nights with friends and “going to nice cafes for coffee or cakes.”

As for her future career in sports, she said she was still figuring it out.

“With my masters degree, I hope to be able to be part of prestigious sporting governing bodies like the Olympic Council or Badminton World Federations. I am keeping my options and mind open to the many possibilities.

Sylvia (second right) with her TUS Geretsreid badminton team.

“I aspire to be able to contribute back in any way that I can to the sport (badminton), be it through coaching younger kids, sharing skills and knowledge I was fortunate enough to have received through the years or in the management side of things.

“I feel very blessed to have been given all the opportunities I otherwise would not have had if it wasn’t for badminton. To name a few, being able to train and compete with the best athletes in the country..to be coached by professional coaches, travelling to so many different countries at a young age, making new friends from around the world, and the best feeling of all is when you win a tournament and realise all that hard-work  paid off!

Sylvia (centre) with fellow badminton players after winning a local tournament in Munich for women singles.

“Certainly, there was another side too to being a national athlete, like missing out on family events, injuries, long hours of training and the disappointment of not achieving the set targets but these were experiences too, not complaints, and my family remained my inspiration and support system all through the years.”

Among Sylvia’s achievements include being the Grand Prix Finals Champion for Under 14 and Under 16 women singles category, runner up for Perak Open and Kuala Lumpur Open women singles category, Bronze medalist at the Asian School Games in Hong Kong in mixed doubles category, Bronze medal in Women Singles Thailand Smiling Fish International women singles category and also winning the Bronze medal in World Universiade 2015 mixed team event.