Article by: Ryan Keliher
Chants of “Novaaa Scotiaaa” echoed throughout Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre in Charlottetown as proud fans watched Ritu Shah and Thomas Ashton add two silver medals to Team Nova Scotia’s growing medal count.
The medals are the province’s first (and second) Canada Games badminton medals in over twenty years.
Shah and Ashton each faced formidable opponents from Team Ontario in their gold medal matches. Chloe Huang defeated Shah in straight sets on the female side (21-13, 21-15). Timothy Lock edged out Ashton 21-19 in the third and deciding set of a tense male final (21-11, 20-22, 21-19).
Shah, a first-year neuroscience student at Dalhousie University who balances a rigorous university course load with elite-level training, had her sights set on the podium.
“My main goal of the tournament was to make finals. I think my overall performance in the earlier rounds was better than how I did in the finals, but it’s such an honour to be able to represent my province. It’s amazing to be here," said Shah with pride.
For Ashton, being so close to a gold medal stings, but the second-year Dalhousie microbiology student still sees the incredible accomplishment amidst his defeat.
“When I look back, it will feel a lot better. Overall, I can’t be disappointed with the result because if you had told me I would have medalled a week ago, I would have been extremely happy. I think this is the best tournament I’ve had.”
Coach Pat Thompson had full confidence in his athletes all week.
“We were preparing for a deep run in the tournament. It’s a great result. They each had a tough lead-up to the final. It’s a testament to the hard work that they put in to prepare themselves to get that result today. They are both tremendous people. I can’t be more proud of those two athletes.”
Thompson, who's coached the Canada Games badminton team for the past year, noted that the team’s overall success is shared with coaches and clubs throughout the entire province.
“For the team, and for Thomas and Ritu, the work that’s been put in and the support these athletes have had from across the province in Nova Scotia is really important.”