Canada Winter Games Final Badminton Day
March 1, 2015
Day 6 Recap
The stands for the finals were PACKED. It was such a great energy to have, moving into the final day of competition for badminton at the Canada Winter Games!
Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia played some really tight matches, and were tied 2-2 leading into the final Men’s Doubles match. Nova Scotia’s Jacob Cutler and Kevin Stadnyk fought hard to secure a 21-18, 21-15 victory, ending the tie in the maritime province’s favour. As expected, Nova Scotia’s fans were the loudest – stamping, hooting, hollering, blowing horns and ringing cowbells through every match of the morning.
New Brunswick’s Zhengyao Zhang played every bit as aggressively as he did the night before, snagging a 17-21, 21-14, 21-19 victory for NB in Men’s Doubles. Unfortunately, it was to be their only win; Team Manitoba swept the rest of the matches in two games apiece to place 7th in the team event.
The most exciting matches of the morning were played by Team Nunavut and Team Newfoundland and Labrador. Spirits were high in both camps, but an extra buzz emanated from the Nunavut camp, as they stood to gain the first victory against a province in badminton’s history at the Games. Jenny Mosele and Jane Nakashuk kicked the morning off with a decisive 21-17, 21-11 victory over NL’s Sarah Montgomery and Kylie Squires. Media darling Jayko Ageeakok (the one who travelled 5 days to get to Prince George) played an intense physical match against NL’s Avery Ash. Their bout stretched three games and ended in a mammoth victory for Ageeakok - 21-8, 18-21, 21-2. Mixed doubles saw Team Nunavut’s Brittnay Masson and Louis Lebel Wong defeat Samantha Ash and Brad Cameron 21-9, 21-14, clinching 9th for Nunavut. In the spirit of the Games, both teams decided to play the rest of the tie. Nunavut’s Mary Omole squared off against Newfoundland and Labrador’s Samantha Morey, and neither girl stopped smiling for the whole match. They still played a competitive game, but it was great to see such joy emanating from athletes in the throes of competition. Omole bagged a 21-9, 21-14 victory and set up teammates Saumik Darehshoripour and Jonah Oolayou for a sweep. The duo from Nunavut took on NL’s James Devoe and Taylor Norman and did just that, securing Nunavut’s 5-0 sweep of NL in a 21-13, 21-6 Men’s Doubles match. History was made.
In the bronze medal match, Team BC and Team Quebec fought tooth and nail in each match. BC’s Qingzi Ouyang brought home a 21-8, 21-8 victory in Women’s Singles against Cynthia Chen, but Quebec took the next match with Vicky Girard and Alexandra Mocanu’s 21-17, 21-16 win over Kylie Cheng and Samantha Zheng. Girard and Mocanu played an extremely physical game, diving for shuttles, sacrificing their bodies for points, and cementing Quebec’s reputation as a fierce group of badminton athletes. BC’s Joshua Liu and Duncan Yao, who won the bronze for Men’s Doubles in the individual event, tipped the scales back in BC’s favour with a close 22-20, 21-19 victory over Quebec’s Antonin Bergeron and Philippe Giguere. Best match of the night goes to the all-out war that was James Ho versus Félix Deblois-Beaucage in Men’s Singles. By the end of the third game, the audience was as exhausted as the athletes, who despite being almost completely gassed out, still threw themselves into their shots with the same precision and vigour as they did in the first game. The pressure was on Ho to clinch bronze for BC, but birthday boy Deblois-Beaucage got the gift of victory with a 12-21, 21-17, 21-17 win over Ho. The stage was set for the deciding match, and with the gold medal already clinched on the opposite court, all eyes were on BC’s Allan Ng and Alexa Wu facing Quebec’s Maxime Marin and Nadianie Ouaqouq-Bergeron in Mixed Doubles. Both teams (and their fans) were hoarse from cheering, but they stayed on their feet for the entire duration of the final battle. Quebec took it in two games, triumphing over BC with a decisive 21-8, 21-13 win.
Team Alberta put up a tough fight in their rumble with Ontario. As expected, Rachel Honderich won the first match against Valerie Cheung by a fairly wide margin (21-3, 21-7), kick-starting Ontario’s momentum in the gold medal match. Alberta nearly won the second, with sisters Kyleigh and Erin O’Donaghue just losing out to Ontario’s Qufei Chen and Vivian Kwok in Women’s Doubles, 20-22, 21-15, 21-15. The pressure was on Alberta’s Men’s Doubles team Ty Lindeman and Austin Bauer to keep their province in the running, but Jason Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura won the match 21-16, 21-14. Though their fate had been decided, Alberta continued to play the final matches with their heads held high. Andy Ko faced Team O’s top seeded Men’s Singles player Andrew D’Souza in a brief match that D’Souza ended 21-8, 21-3. Finally, Joshua Hurlburt-Yu and Brittney Tam scored a win over Alberta’s Nathan Osborne and Takeisha Wang, completing the sweep with a 21-11, 17-21, 21-12 victory.
What a week! The past six days of competition saw some great badminton, some tight matches and some disappointing losses. It was amazing to witness athletes from across the nation reach new heights in their badminton careers while forging important friendships that will last them a lifetime. The Canada Winter Games was a truly magical experience!