Five CBN badminton players headed to Canada Games
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.
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.”
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.