2014 Judy Devlin Fund Winners Announced

Photo Courtesy: Peter Teuben

Four competitors captured $300 each from the Judy Devlin Fund for Excellence in Badminton awarded by the Northeast Region Badminton Association (NEBA).

The annual recognition honors Northeast Region players who have demonstrated their commitment to excellence, contributed to promoting interest and participation in the sport of badminton, and who show exemplary sportsmanship attitude in training and competition along with volunteerism in support of various badminton projects. The award is intended to help defray the costs of player participation in events that can lead them to the world stage.

The Judy Devlin Fund, created in 2012 to honor “the best player trained within the Northeast Region of the United States,” recognizes players, who like Devlin, show the promise and drive to dominate the sport of badminton. A former badminton standout, Devlin won 86 national and international titles during her career spanning the 1950s and 60s until her retirement in 1967.

The four 2014 winners of the award are: Andrew Yuan, Sanchita Pandey, Raymond Chen, and Nicole Frevold. All of them qualified for the PanAm Junior Championship games slated for July in Guatemala. Though she qualified in singles U13, Pandey plans to spend this summer in India training there, while the remaining three will complete at the Jr PanAms.

Yuan (U11) of Paramus, New Jersey, qualified in all three U11 events: boys singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles. His folks tell us that “Andrew has developed tremendous interest in the sport of badminton ever since the first moment he grabbed a racquet at age 8,” only two years ago.

Though he is 10 years old, Yuan has high expectations. He said, “Having a Judy Devlin award can help me to training [sic] even harder and then I could become the next Judy Devlin.”

Pandey (U13) of Sterling, Virginia echoes Yuan's sentiments. In training now for three years, she has made efforts to improve her game. She understands that badminton is a challenging sport requiring training and an understanding of the game in order to compete at the highest levels.

"Badminton is the game that I love the most, and I hope to represent my country on the international stage one day," Pandey said.

Chen (U15) of Martinsville, New Jersey is no stranger to competition, capturing his first U.S. win in 2012 with partner Clayton Cayen in the U13 boys doubles at the K&D Graphics Junior Nationals Tournament. He has also competed previously at the Jr PanAm games, having been selected five times for the U.S. Junior National Team. He qualified this year in the U15 mixed doubles.

Chen says that his badminton career has taught him valuable skills and life lessons that he will continue to use both on and off the court. As he put it, “I will continue to work harder, and hopefully, accomplish more than I ever dreamed of.”

The oldest of the four winners, Frevold (U17) of Marblehead, Massachusetts has overcome stiff local competition during her nine years of training, and qualified in mixed doubles. Frevold credits her mother for making sure that she can continue to play despite personal challenges.

Frevold said, “I was the only female in a group of highly competitive boys, who not only were excellent badminton players, but who also tested my inner strength to continue with the sport. It was a challenge as some tried to intimidate me, but my passion for the game kept me going, and actually made me a better player. I also learned humility when I began competing against some highly skilled players.”

NEBA congratulates this year’s four award recipients and looks forward to watching all four players compete in the upcoming Junior Nationals, July 1 – 6 in El Monte, California.

Board Chair Yvonne Chern notes that the Judy Devlin Fund, designed to offer top players from the Northeast Region help with their expenses, would not be possible without the generous contributions from clubs, organizations, and individuals.

The Judy Devlin Fund operates under the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (EIN #22-286-4879) of the Northeast Badminton Association—an entity operating within the authority of USA Badminton, the national governing body for the sport. Contributions may be forwarded to: The Judy Devlin Fund, 3 Bessom Street #151, Marblehead, MA 01945 and will be acknowledged properly with a letter for IRS purposes and a W-9 will be forwarded if requested.