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Serving up the shuttles in Baker
Open badminton tournament provides thrilling action

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It was an exciting weekend of high-flying action in Baker Lake, as players from across the Kivalliq competed in Baker's Open Badminton Tournament this past month.

Male and female action took place in Under-14, Under-16, Under-19, and Open Men's and Open Women's divisions.

Tournament organizer Brad Mainse said the tournament went very well.

He said it's always a bonus when there's no weather issues during a tournament and every player makes it in to compete.

"The tournament was structured, more or less, as a round-robin event, which creates lots of games for the kids," said Mainse. "All the kids were guaranteed lots of matches and, to me, that's the ultimate priority in a tournament for an individual sport. Kids don't show up, play two games and be done for the day.

"They played lots at this tournament and were tired when they were done."

Mainse said it was great to see a number of new faces at the tournament.

He said he was pleased to have Whale Cove show up, as well as to see Arviat bring a young group of players, and both Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet bring a mixed age group of players.

"A great thing about badminton is, as with any individual sport, all it takes is for it to click with that one kid. You don't have to have a team of kids to make it work, just that one kid can have the spark that creates interest in others. Once you've got that, the ball starts rolling.

"We also had some young, first-time coaches step up this year and try to organize teams, and they did a great job getting their teams together and doing their practices, and that's a good sign for badminton."

Mainse said the community did an outstanding job of billeting the players and making the kids feel welcome and comfortable in Baker Lake.

He said the players were all billeted, so neither school had to be used to house kids during the weekend.

"I had a lot of good comments from some of the parents who had billets, saying the kids were well-behaved. They were happy with how polite the kids were and happy to have them visit for the weekend."

Mainse said, for the most part, the players were evenly matched and there were very few blowouts during the tournament.

He said with badminton now being rally point, instead of serve to score, it creates scoring opportunities for even the weaker players.

"We had a couple of boys in the Under-19 Division who were high-level players for this tournament.

"I had them play in the Men's Open Division to keep both divisions competitive.

"So, there could have been, potentially, some big blowouts, but we bumped them up to the next level and that took care of it.

"That also had those boys playing competitive, high-level badminton, which is what they needed, as well."

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