Bhatnagar eyes another medal
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