Bhat­na­gar eyes an­other medal

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - MARTIN CLEARY

Team Man­i­toba’s Khaled Al­drar (bot­tom) com­petes in medal-round wrestling ac­tion at the Canada Sum­mer Games yes­ter­day in Win­nipeg. Al­drar went on to win a sil­ver medal

Ot­tawa’s Ma­lik Bhat­na­gar ex­ited the Win­nipeg Lawn Ten­nis Club on Fri­day with one Canada Sum­mer Games gold medal in his pocket and an eye on an­other gold for Satur­day.

Bhat­na­gar, 18, played a key role in On­tario cap­tur­ing the gold medal in the mixed team com­pe­ti­tion with a 4-2 de­ci­sion over Bri­tish Columbia in the best-of-seven se­ries of men’s and women’s sin­gles and dou­bles matches.

Af­ter win­ning his men’s sin­gles team match early in the day 6-2, 6-0 over Ste­fan Mitro­vic, Bhat­na­gar be­came a cheer­leader for Team On­tario.

But he later pulled away from the day-long com­pe­ti­tion to fo­cus on his semi­fi­nal match in the in­di­vid­ual men’s sin­gles draw.

The third-seeded Bhat­na­gar, who will at­tend Stet­son Univer­sity in Flor­ida on a ten­nis schol­ar­ship later this month, de­feated top-seeded Taha Baadi of Que­bec, the No. 6-ranked U18 boys’ sin­gles player in Canada, by scores of 6-4, 6-3. Bhat­na­gar plays out of the ACE Ten­nis Academy in Burling­ton and is No. 7.

Bhat­na­gar, who is un­de­feated in three team and two in­di­vid­ual matches at the Games, will swing for the men’s sin­gles gold medal against Gatineau’s Ni­caise Muamba, a player he has never de­feated.

“It has been a su­per, ex­cit­ing day,” Bhat­na­gar said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “I won my sin­gles match quickly and then sup­ported the team. I re­ally like the at­mos­phere here, the big crowds and it’s loud. I thrive in that en­vi­ron­ment.”

Muamba fol­lowed a sim­i­lar game plan to Bhat­na­gar, help­ing Que­bec take the mixed team bronze medal by a 4-2 mar­gin over Al­berta.

He won his men’s sin­gles team match 6-2, 6-2 over Os­car Yang, and then out­lasted Vic­tor Krustev of Toronto 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the in­di­vid­ual sin­gles semi­fi­nals.

Bhat­na­gar and Muamba weren’t the only ath­letes from the Na­tional Cap­i­tal re­gion cel­e­brat­ing at the Games on Fri­day.

Af­ter win­ning two gold medals on Thurs­day, Rideau Ca­noe Club’s Rowan Hardy-Ka­vanagh nabbed the sil­ver in women’s C1 200 me­tres in 52.35 sec­onds.

Kayaker Au­gust Sibthorpe of Rideau added a sil­ver medal to her two golds from Tues­day, fin­ish­ing sec­ond with Lucy Pen­ny­fa­ther of Oakville in the women’s K2 200 me­tres in 40.270 sec­onds.

In other races, Hardy-Ka­vanagh and Car­leton Place’s Lind­say Ir­win formed half the On­tario women’s IC4 200-me­tre boat, which placed fourth; Rideau’s Joe Spratt of Gananoque was in the On­tario men’s K4, 200-me­tre boat, which was fourth; and Kather­ine Markhauser of Gatineau and Rideau’s Lexy Vin­cent were fifth and sixth re­spec­tively in the women’s K1 5,000 me­tres.

Ne­pean-Kanata Bar­racu­das Swim Club’s David Quirie and Nata­tion Gatineau’s Louis Ber­trand placed fourth and fifth re­spec­tively in the men’s 1,500-me­tre freestyle. Glouces­ter Ot­tawa King­fish’s Re­gan Rath­well of Ash­ton was fifth in the women’s 200-me­tre in­di­vid­ual med­ley.

Gael Shin­dano of the Ot­tawa Swim Club was eighth in the men’s 50-me­tre freestyle, Spe­cial Olympics di­vi­sion.

On­tario shut out Que­bec 2-0 in its men’s soc­cer semi­fi­nal and will play the win­ner of the Al­berta-Man­i­toba game in the fi­nal.

On­tario will at­tempt to win its third Games’ gold medal in men’s in­door vol­ley­ball, af­ter de­feat­ing Bri­tish Columbia 19-25, 26-24, 2516, 25-13 in its semi­fi­nal.

Its op­po­nent will be de­fend­ing cham­pion Al­berta, who downed Que­bec 25-19, 28-26, 25-22.

BHAT­NA­GAR Canada Games

MATT DUBOFF/CANADA SUM­MER GAMES

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