Five CBN bad­minton play­ers headed to Canada Games

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­

The orange line waits for the mem­bers of New­found­land and Labrador Canada Games bad­minton team at the end.

Tied above the last net of the five­court cir­cuit, it rep­re­sents the ideal space for a birdie to pass over the net.

It is that skill-test­ing ques­tion you need to an­swer be­fore claim­ing a raf­fle prize.

The five Canada Games ath­letes from the Con­cep­tion Bay North re­gion were tasked to per­form var­i­ous shots with the goal of find­ing the space be­tween the net and the line.

“It isn’t easy,” said Hant’s Har­bour’s Sa­man­tha Ash.

The five — Sa­man­tha, Avery Ash, Sarah Mont­gomery, Kylie Squires and Tay­lor Nor­man — were at Bac­calieu Col­le­giate on Oct. 12 for a train­ing ses­sion. The other team mem­ber at­tend­ing that prac­tice was Bradley Cameron of St. John’s.

They are head­ing to the 2015 Canada Win­ter Games in Prince George, B.C., sched­uled for Feb. 13Mar. 1.

Un­der the watchful eye of coach John Gillam, the group di­vided into pairs to work on their re­spec­tive games.

From the flick serve to over­hand smashes, they took turns per­form­ing shots.

Some were more suc­cess­ful than oth­ers, but there is some­thing to be said for giv­ing it your all.

Gillam sees a strong fu­ture ahead for his young charges.

“There is growth po­ten­tial,” he said.

The group fin­ished up the camp with a se­ries of matches against coun­ter­parts from the Memo­rial Univer­sity bad­minton team.

Over half the team

The CBN five are not the only mem­bers of the team. There are ten oth­ers — three from the west coast, one from cen­tral and one from St. John’s — but the majority of the team is from this area.

It speaks vol­umes about the work Gar­land But­ton (Bac­calieu Col­le­giate) and Kenny Wong (As­cen­sion Col­le­giate) have done with the sport in the re­gion.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Spa­niard’s Bay’s Tay­lor Nor­man.

For two of the com­peti­tors, it means trav­el­ling to one of the world’s big­gest sport­ing events with their sib­ling. Sa­man­tha and Avery Ash are brother and sis­ter.

“It’ll be great to share this ex­pe­ri­ence with my sis­ter,” said Avery.

Ath­letic ex­pe­ri­ence

The ex­pe­ri­ence is one of the main draw­ing points for th­ese ath­letes. They’re look­ing for­ward to trav­el­ling across the coun­try to com­pete, stay­ing in the ath­lete’s vil­lage and meet- ing fel­low ath­letes from the var­i­ous cen­tres. “It’s very ex­cit­ing,” said Squires. Like it is with any team from this prov­ince, get­ting to­gether for train­ing ses­sions can be a strug­gle.

That makes it dif­fi­cult to forge strong bonds amongst team­mates and chem­istry on the court.

How­ever, Gillam does not see that be­ing a prob­lem with this con­tin­gent. He feels they’ve come to­gether quickly in a short time.

“They’re the best I’ve ever seen in bad­minton,” said Gillam.

Another train­ing camp is sched­uled dur­ing the Christ­mas break. The hope is the team will con­tinue to push to­wards a common goal.

“The key is to get them to­gether as of­ten as we can,” said Gillam. “We want to do well in the At­lantic re­gion.”

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Six of the 10 mem­bers of the Team New­found­land and Labrador Canada Games bad­minton squad are from the east coast. They are, from left, Tay­lor Nor­man, Kylie Squires, Sa­man­tha Ash, Sarah Mont­gomery, Avery Ash and Bradley Cameron.

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