DOU­BLE BRONZE

Sark wins medals in sin­gles, teams with Dy­ment in dou­bles

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JA­SON SIM­MONDS

P.E.I.’s Nikeda Sark wins medals in sin­gles, teams with Keely Dy­ment in dou­bles Fri­day at 2017 North Amer­i­can Indigenous Games in Toronto

Fri­day was a big day for bad­minton play­ers Nikeda Sark and Keely Dy­ment.

Sark be­came P.E.I.’s first dou­ble-medal­list at the 2017 North Amer­i­can Indigenous Games, win­ning bronze in sin­gles and team­ing with Dy­ment to win bronze in un­der-16 play at the Pan Am Sports Cen­tre in Toronto.

“It feels amaz­ing,” said Sark, 15. “I didn’t ex­pect it.”

P.E.I. has now won three medals af­ter Lo­gen Lewis of Len­nox Is­land won bronze in 3D archery on Thurs­day.

In sin­gles, Sark de­feated an op­po­nent from Man­i­toba in two straight sets – 21-16, 21-7.

“It was pretty chal­leng­ing,” said Sark, who will en­ter Grade 10 at Westisle Com­pos­ite High School in Septem­ber. “Once I found out her weak spot, I kind of fo­cused on that.”

Sark, who be­gan play­ing bad­minton in Grade 3, fo­cused on a game plan of mak­ing sure she hit clean re­turns while wait­ing for her op­po­nent to make mis­takes.

“She kept clear­ing (from the back of the court), wear­ing her op­po­nent down and it was a bat­tle of at­tri­tion,” said P.E.I. bad­minton coach Robin En­man of Len­nox Is­land.

In dou­bles, Sark and Dy­ment needed three sets to out­last their op­po­nents from Man­i­toba 14-21, 21-13, 21-18.

“It’s amaz­ing,” the 14-yearold Dy­ment said in de­scrib­ing the feel­ing of win­ning the medal. “It was chal­leng­ing.”

Dy­ment said the team’s goals head­ing into the com­pe­ti­tion were to try its best “and see how far we make it.”

Dy­ment, who will en­ter Grade 9 at Hernewood In­ter­me­di­ate School in Septem­ber, agreed it was “very” stress­ful play­ing in a nail-bit­ing fi­nal match, es­pe­cially with the third and de­cid­ing set so close.

How­ever, Dy­ment cred­ited strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the court as a big fac­tor for P.E.I.’s suc­cess.

“(We are talk­ing) all the time, keep­ing each other up and keep­ing things pos­i­tive,” she an­swered.

Both Dy­ment and Sark said they im­me­di­ately thought of their fam­i­lies and team­mates af­ter their medal vic­to­ries.

The bronze medals marked the end of a very busy week for P.E.I.’s bad­minton team.

En­man noted the team prac­tised Sun­day, played sin­gles Mon­day, dou­bles Tues­day, mixed Wed­nes­day, quar­ter-fi­nals and semi­fi­nals were held on Thurs­day and the medal matches went on Fri­day.

“Oh my gosh, it’s been tir­ing,” said Sark, who noted the team prac­tised two to three times a week, with each ses­sion last­ing two hours, in prepa­ra­tion for the Games.

En­man said he was proud of how all the P.E.I. ath­letes per­formed.

“They got six days of bad­minton,” he said. “They are ex­hausted.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Nikeda Sark, left, and Keely Dy­ment and won bronze medals for Team P.E.I. at the North Amer­i­can Indigenous Games on Fri­day.

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