Rod Black Essay – Halifax 2011 Canada Games

TSN’s Rod Black shares his final thoughts on the Halifax 2011 Canada Games.

A great legacy for synchronised swimming in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Synchronized Swim Team

Halifax, February 26, 2011 – The 2011 Canada Games synchronized swimming events have only just come to an end, but in Nova Scotia, thoughts are already focused on the Games’ legacy for the sport in Nova Scotia..

There is of course the physical legacy, which includes the construction of a new pool and the purchase of a new sound system. But there is also the potential to develop a future Olympic medallist.

“From a promotional point of view, our sport was presented in front a full crowd every day”, said provincial head coach Colleen Aird. “We did a good job promoting the event among the general population and our hope is now that the young people who watched the events will come forward and contact clubs.”

Aside from engaging new athletes, there is also the challenge of retaining those who have been involved in the sport for a long time and those who are just getting started, according to Synchro Nova Scotia’s Executive Director, Pam Kidney. “This week, they saw athletes that can inspire them”.

“The Canada Games are a great opportunity for our athletes, parents and officials to witness a high-level competition, here in Nova Scotia”, added Colleen Aird. “It’s something that you don’t often have a chance to see in the Maritimes.”

“The goal now is that our athletes who participated in the Canada Games continue to compete. They had the opportunity to talk to other athletes about training hours, objectives, etc. It was very inspiring for them. We hope that these athletes, who were only in their second year of training at the national level, will be more comfortable in future national competitions and will continue to progress no longer for a one-time event, but on the long term.”

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.

Two Ontario Boys to Meet in the Gold Medal Final in Table Tennis

Both semi-finals started with an Ontario – British Columbia match.  In the end, teammates from Ontario will play for the Gold and teammates from British Columbia will compete for the Bronze medal.

In the first match, British Columbia’s Adrian Lee played Yen-Chun Lu, the top seed from Ontario.  The first game was played at a fast and furious pace.  Adrian was leading 4-2 and 6-4 before Yen-Chen won the next 7 points to win 11-7.  In the second game, Lu continued his strong play to take a 10-5 lead.  Lee then won 3 points in a row to make the score 10-8.  Ontario used a strategic time out to slow pace.  It worked as Lu won the next point to win the game 11-8.  The third game was tied at 5 until Lu won 4 points in a row to take a 9-5 lead.  Lu was then able to close out the match by winning the third game 11-7.

In the second semi-final, Jeremy Lau from British Columbia played the second seed from Ontario, Zexuan Wang.  In the first game, Wang took control early going up 5-0.  Lau was not able to match Wang for the rest of game and lost 11-3.  Again, in the second game, Wang got out to an early lead 7-3 and won the game 11-7.  In the third game, Lau and Wang were tied at 6 but Wang was able to close out the game and the match by winning the last 5 points with a 11-6 score.

Teammates Yen-Chun Lu and Zexuan Wang from Ontario will play for the Gold medal while British Columbia’s Jeremy Lau and Adrian Lee will play for the Bronze.  The Gold and Bronze medal matches will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 26th at Citadel High School.

To watch the live feed of table tennis at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games, go to http://canadagames.bellaliant.net/live.php?y=2011&m=02&d=24

Quebec and British Columbia to Play for Table Tennis Gold in Girls’ Singles

The girls’ semi-finals saw 4 different provinces represented – Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta.  In the end, Quebec’s Annie Coulombe and Shirley Fu from British Columbia will play off for the Gold medal.

In the first semi-final, Ontario’s Jiawei Liu was up against the top seed from British Columbia, Shirley Fu.  In the first game, Liu went up 4-2 early but Fu rallied to win 7 points in a row to go up 9-4.  Fu then closed out the match 11-7.  Fu got off to a fast start, 5-0, in the second game.  Liu tried to rally a comeback but fell short 11-9.  In the third game, Fu won 11-6 to win the match 3-0 and place British Columbia in the Gold medal final.

In the second semi-final, 14 year old Annie Coulombe from Quebec was looking for her second straight upset in a row as she played the third seed, Roxana Pao from Alberta.  Annie got off to a quick start to go up 4-0 in the first game.  Roxana then won 7 of the next 8 points to take the lead 7-5.  Annie showed lots of fight to tie it up at 8 and then won the next 3 points to win 11-8.  The second game had a number of great rallies.  At 10-8, Annie got a little lucky and after a long rally, her last shot hit the net and trickled over to win the game 11-8.  The third game saw both Pao and Coulombe trade points back and forth until at 9-8 for Coulombe.  At that point, Annie won the last 2 points to win the game 11-8 and the match at 3 games to zero.

Annie Coulombe now has beaten the second seed and the third to make the finals.  In the Gold medal match, Annie Coulombe from Quebec will now play the top seed, Shirley Fu from British Columbia.

The Gold medal match between Annie Coulombe (QC) and Shirley Fu (BC) will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 26th as will as the Bronze medal match between Jiawei Liu (ON) and Roxana Pao (AB).

To watch the live feed of table tennis at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games, go to http://canadagames.bellaliant.net/live.php?y=2011&m=02&d=24

Farewell Nova Scotia-Final Thoughts from Archery

In the waning moments of the 2011 Canada Games, the mood has struck to attempt to put the week in perspective.

Having been at the Archery Event all of Week Two, this final day brings many thoughts and emotions.

When all is said and done, the event, the archers, the volunteers, the officials, all are tired and probably glad to be able to soon return to our normal everday lives.  That is, even though this week has been in a word; FABULOUS.

However,  it is not without some sadness that we now return to our families and jobs, or schools across this great country.

And what a country this is. 

For the last week, the youth of the nation, in this case the archers have come together in what is truly a celebration of our sport and this country./

We’ve watched as young people and their coaches and chaperones have shared, cried, and laughed together.

We have seen performances that shattered records and fallen short of expectations.  We have been together on the field of play and in the cafterias.  Made friends and aquaintences that we will not forget, even though we may never see each other again.

What a country this is.

To Young men and women compete against each other, giving no quarter on the field, but being able to embrace each other, to congratulate and console each other when it is over.  The young man from Quebec, so dsiappointed in his own performance, yet able to sit with his friend from Ontario, so shortly after and revel in the firend’s success.

To see the coach of the Quebec Team step up on the podium during a break in the medal presentations and entertain the crowd, jigging to `Barret`s Privateers”,  with everyone singing along and breaking into loud applause when he was done.

What a country this is.

As Canadians, we share many things in common, as well as having our differences in language, culture, dialects, and customs.  But it is the joy of the similarities that bind us.

We have fun.  We have fun together.  Far removed from the politics and politicians, ….we dance.  We sing.  We celebrate together. We play, we challenge each other to step up and be better.

What a country this is.

The Canada Games are one of the things that make this country great.

The late Peter Gzowski had a contest on his radio show ‘Morningside.’  The purpose was to complete the phrase ‘As Canadian as possible……’   The winning submission, in typical Canadian self-deprecation was ‘As Canadian as possible, under the circumstances.’ 

Well,  Mr. Gzowski, under the circumstances, the Canada Games allows us to be as Canadian as possible. 

Young people are the future, but they are also the present.  They have shown us dignity in defeat and grace in victory.  They have shown us the drive to excel, the will to win and the ability to rise above the differneces.

There are many in Canada who would do well to take a lesson from them.

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.