A champion shuttler during his prime as a national player, Conrado Co is now a champion badminton leader and a generous patron for aspiring badminton players.
In the early 60s, the young Conrad travelled to Hong Kong to watch his favorite players, including his trainer Sy Kim Piao, play in an international tournament.
Eventually, Conrad ceased to be a spectator and played doubles alongside his trainer-coach Sy in Hong Kong in the 1963 Hong Kong Open Badminton Championship.
It was a dream come true for Conrad (or Aying, as he is fondly called by friends) and it proved sweeter because his partnership with his trainer-coach netted for them a runner-up finisn in the tournament.
That experience ignited in Aying a lifetime passion for badminton and inspired him to win more titles for his country.
After his Hong Kong stint, Aying went on to win more tournaments, including 18 natuonal titles, four in singles (All -Filipino Metropolitan Open in 1963, 1965 and the National Open in 1963) and 14 in doubles with three different partners in 1964 and 1969. Co emerged doubles champion with partners Sy, Danny So and Armand Yanga.
He was also a member of the Philippine team that won the team event in the 977 South Vietnam Invitational tilt; won the Taipeh Open doubles tournament in 1967, and was a member of the national team in the Jakarta Asian Games (1962), 1966 Bangkok Asiad, and 1974 Asian Games in Tehran, Iran.
He also became a part of the Philippine team in the Asian Badminton Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 1963, Malaysia in 1965, India in 1967 and Manila in 1969.
Co got into badminton at a rather late age of 14. Although he came from a big family of eight children, it was only he who showed interest in the then unpopular game.
Tall and hefty, Co could have gone into basketball, but it was badminton, which had lured him and inspired him to play it with a passion.
“I was very fortunate to have a father who backed me all the way in this sport when I was just starting until the time when I can stand on my own and became somebody in badminton and in life as a whole.”
Co got married with the former Pacita Uy, a pretty girl who was crowned as Miss Freshman of the UST College of Commerce in 1972.
Pacita was a badminton player herself, and often played at the YWCA court. At first, she played for fun, but later became a competitive player and won a doubles event in 1983 in a non-ranking national tournament om the following year.
Conrado and Pacita’s union was blessed with three children—Karen, Joseph Ryan and Theodore—all badminton players.
Noawadays, The Cos still join touirnaments against younger players to keep themselves fit.
The badminton couple also started suppoting badminton athletes who have the potential to make it bid in international badminton arenas.
Co, a ranking official of the Philippine Badminton Association, continues to support young players as well as elite and comebacking shuttlers.
Pacita, meanwhile, manages her own team, the Marikina-based Allied Victor Badminton Club which competes in local tournaments and prestigious international tournaments. The club is being coached by their in-house mentor, former national coach Malvin Alcala and his consultant, Jeremy Kok of Malaysia.
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