All in the Family

For team manager Kim Masson and her family, badminton was an unknown sport prior to moving to Nunavut, as volleyball, was the family’s passion until 5 years ago.  The Masson family then moved to Iqaluit to take advantage of a teaching opportunity.  Fast forward a few years, and Kim Masson along with two, Chantal 19 and Britney 16, of her 3 daughters are at the 2011 Canada Winter Games representing the Territory of Nunavut and playing one of the world’s most popular sports.

Chantelle stated that it was very nice for her to have her sister and mother present to lean on, and as these were her second Canada Winter Games, she explained how these games were a better experience for her, crediting team chemistry.

Talking to Britney, she explained that she has only been playing badminton for 3 years and that she will have the opportunity to play for Nunavut at the 2015 games, due to her age.  As per Britney: “I am so glad I came”.  

When asked how Kim felt living such an experience with her daughters she replied: “I am very fortunate, not many mothers can experience these games with their daughters”.  The Masson sisters played Women’s Doubles together and as Britney indicated, when things do not go well, we know to just walk away and give each other space on the court.

All three credit Calvin Holoboff for Nunavut’s performance at these games and the team chemistry that has developed.

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Team Event Summary and Exhibition preview

Day 1 of the Canada Winter Games 2011 Team Event saw the top ranked provinces dominate their competition.  Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia won all their ties and even all the matches within their ties.

On day two, the competition continues, with three Ties and with all provinces jockeying for position and placement for various pools of play.   The event will heat up with the 7 PM Tie as provinces vie for any remaining spots in tomorrow’s Semi Final round. 

Day 2 will also see a badminton exhibition match between Olympian Anna Rice and several of her fellow Athlete Can Role Models.  According to Anna: ”They are looking forward to playing with and against me on a badminton court.  I really want to show them what badminton is all about and how much fun the sport really is.”

An Inspiration to a Province – and the Nation

By: Chris Surette

Jerry Zhang had his sights set on competing at the 2011 Canada Games.

The 17-year old Badminton player from Fredericton, NB was ranked in the top-5 for men’s doubles in Canada and top-10 singles for under-16 in 2010.

Zhang was vying for a spot on Team New Brunswick for the Canada Games, but was diagnosed with cancer a week before selection camp began on December 27th, 2010.

After a successful year competing in the under-16 category, he moved up to under-19 this past year and competed in a Junior Elite tournament in Toronto in November. He looked strong at the tournament, competing in men’s singles and making it the quarter finals in doubles, with his partner from British Columbia.

But after competing in a tournament in New Brunswick on the weekend of December 18th, Zhang was diagnosed with a Gem Cell Tumor and started chemo therapy December 20th at the IWK in Halifax.

Zhang has been in Halifax ever since, receiving multiple chemo therapy treatments on his way to recovery.

Zhang is here at the Canada Games Centre to cheer on his New Brunswick teammates as the team competition got under way. His presence alone is an inspiration to his teammates.

Chance at redemption-part 2

After 5 long days and a stint in quarantine (24 hours), Quebec’s Vicky Girard finally got her shot to compete at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.  Unfortunately, due to illness, the Women’s Doubles team was unable to play in the individual competition and is was just relieved to have another opportunity to prove herself against Canada’s best.

In her first match in the morning Tie between Quebec and Nova Scotia, Vicky Girard along with her partner Isabelle Vezina won 21-18, 21-12.  

When asked about the match, she explained: “It was very difficult as I had not played or practiced since last Friday, and I was away for the 2 weeks prior to, on vacation.  I was really looking forward to just being on court yesterday, and practicing.”

Quebec won their opening Tie versus Nova Scotia 5-0, in a one sided affaire.   The next round of Ties are scheduled for 1 PM on Thursday Afternoon.

Finals in the individual Competition in Badminton

In the Finals of the Mixed Double draw, the BC team of Christin Tsai and Nathan Choi continued their road to gold by once again upsetting a seeded team.  In this match, it was the favoured team of Phillip Charron and Caroline Beauregard of Quebec in what was a close match.  The final score was 21-17, 21-23, 21-11.  Nyl Yakura and Alex Bruce of Ontario won their bronze medal match by defeating Eric Hsu and Phillis Chan of Alberta in another closely disputed match.  The Final score was 20-22, 21-8, 21-18. 

In the Men’s Singles Draw, it was an all Alberta medal sweep. In the finals Alex Pang won Gold by defeating fellow Albertan Martin Guiffre in a match that lasted 55 minutes.  The final score was 18-21, 21-14, 21-18.  In the bronze medal match, Hao Li of Alberta won Quebec’s Philippe Gaumond by a final score of 21-10, 21-10.

In the Women’s Singles draw, Michelle Li of Ontario won Gold by a final score of 21-2, 21-13, over Phillis Chan of British Columbia.  Fellow BC athlete Christin Tsai won Bronze with a win over Quebec athlete Stephanie Pakenham.

Philippe Gaumond and Philippe Charron won a hotly contested match for the Gold Medal in Men’s Doubles.  The Ontario team of Nyl Yakyra and Nathan Lee pushed the number 1 seed to the maximum in a 3 set match.  The Final score was 20-22, 21-16, 22-20.

Philippe Gaumond and Philippe Charron won a hotly contested match for the Gold Medal in Men’s Doubles.  The Ontario team of Nyl Yakyra and Nathan Lee pushed the number 1 seed to the maximum in a 3 set match.  The Final score was 20-22, 21-16, 22-20.   The all Alberta bronze medal match saw Logan Campbell and Darren Hong victorious over Martin Guiffre and Alex Pang. 

The all Ontario finals saw Michelle Li and Alex Bruce win gold over Surabhi Kadam and Tracy Wong 21-15, 21-16.  The bronze medal match featured a victory by the Quebec duo of Caroline Beauregard and Stephanie Pakenham over the Alberta team of Shannon Saunders and Stephanie Pakenham by a score of 21-10, 21-19.

In Mixed, Nathan Choi and Christin Tsai of BC were victorious over the Quebec team of Philippe Charron and Caroline Beauregard by a final score of 21-17, 21-23, 21-11.  For the Bronze medal, Nyl Yakura and Alex Bruce won another very close match by a score of 20-22, 21-8, 21-18. 

The Badminton Team event will begin competition on Thursday at 9 AM.

Number 2 seeds fall in Badminton Mixed Doubles

In Mixed Doubles, the number 2 seeds were upset in the first of 2 semi final matches.  Nathan Choi and Christin Tsai of BC swept the Ontario team comprised of Alex Bruce and Nyl Yakura by a score of 21-14, 21-14.  The young athletes from BC will advance to the Finals of the Mixed Doubles Finals.

The other Semi Final match saw the Quebec duo of Philipp Charron and Caroline Beauregard advanced by defeating Phyllis Chan and Eric Hsu by a final score of 21-18, 21-17.

The Mixed Doubles Finals will begin at 9:00 AM on Wednesday as the day promises many good matches and high level badminton.

Surprises in Men’s Badminton Doubles

In the Men`s Doubles draw, the number 1 seeds Logan Campbell and Darren Hong of Alberta were upset by the ¾ seeded Nyl Yakura and Nathan Lee from Ontario.  The final score of the match was 21-13, 21-18.  In the other semi final match, fans were witnessed to a very close match as the number 2 seeds Philippe Charron and Philipp Gaumond outdueled the Alberta team comprised of Alex Pang and Martin Giuffre.  The final score of the match was 21-10, 18-21 and 21-12.  The very experienced doubles team of Gaumond and Charron proved too much for Singles specialists Pang and Giuffre.

After the match both Gaumond and Charron expressed their excitement on playing in tomorrow’s finals.  “It is fun to win and see that we are in the finals after all our work”. explained Gaumond.

When asked if their approach in tomorrow’s match will change with Ontario’s upstart win, Charron explained that definitely will change their approach: “We were expecting the more experienced Albertans to move into the Finals, now we do not know quite what to expect from this team that was formed specifically for the Canada Games.”

Tomorrow’s Finals in Men’s Doubles is expected to begin at 10:30 AM at the Canada Games Center.