Badminton recap - March 2
It was a frosty morning in Red Deer as spectators poured into the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre gymnasium today to watch the finals of the Team Event at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Alberta had an opportunity to play in front of a home crowd, facing off against Quebec, who defeated British Columbia in the semi-finals 3-2.
Up first was Men’s Doubles, with Desmond Wang and Imran Wadia (AB) against Xavier Laperriere and Mathieu Morneau (QC). Quebec was the first to draw blood, taking the first game 21-17. Fired up by the home crowd and team support, Alberta fired back and won the next game 21-18 and finished strong, winning the decider 21-14 to give Alberta the first point on the board.
Up next was Women’s Doubles, having Alberta’s Stephanie Cheung & Eyota Kwan against Quebec’s Camille Leblanc & Alyson Ruan. Camille & Alyson came in with no mercy, demonstrating the strength in their partnership and winning the women’s double match in straight sets 21-12, 21-10 and tieing the team score up to 1-1.
Following Women’s Doubles was the most exciting match of the tie, Men’s Singles. Kevin Lee (AB), the silver medallist from the Individual Event stepped up against Anthony Nguyen (QC). Anthony really stretched the match out, forcing long rallies often and moving his opponent the full length of the court. He won the first game 21-17. Kevin’s team rallied behind him coming into the second game. Both players clearly exhausted, Kevin went for some high risk plays at the critical point of 18-18. Barely squeaking by, this allowed him to take the second game 21-19 and get a chance to earn his team another point for Alberta. The final game was nothing short of epic, as both players left everything on the court. Dynamic smashes, speed, and an excellent display of skill from both players left the crowd in awe. You could hear a pin drop in the gym as both players stayed head to head at 19-19. With some skillful net-play, Kevin closed out the match and rewarded his team with another point to bring Alberta up 2-1.
Next up on the docket was Women’s Singles with Kyleigh O’Donoghue (AB) going up against Eliana Zhang (QC). Eliana knew that her team needed the win to stay in the match, and she came out with full cylinders on blast. She won her match in two straight sets to send the team competition to the deciding match, Mixed Doubles.
In Mixed, it was Albeta’s Austin Bauer & Takeisha Wang against Quebec’s Nicolas Nguyen & Alexandra Mocanu. Struggling to find their stride, Austin and Takeisha went down quickly in the first game, losing 21-14. In the second game they were also down, but rallied behind the support of the crowd and their team to fight back and win the second game in a daring 22-20. In the final game, in true fashion, both teams stayed close to each other, scoring opposing points back and forth, with Quebec leading the way to the half 11-9. The teams stayed close all the way through to 18-18, until Alberta finally took their first lead of the game, going up 19-18. They never gave the lead back, earning two quick points in succession to win the final game 21-19, the overall competition 3-2 to Alberta, and the gold medal for the team event.
“It was something that only happens one out of a hundred times, but I just knew it. I knew we could come back.” -Austin Bauer, Team AB
On behalf of the Canada Winter Games, we would like to thank all of the athletes, sponsors, volunteers, and spectators that came out to participate in the Games. If this was a new experience for you as a spectator, we hope you enjoyed the atmosphere. This team event will be remembered by everyone.