Local youth badminton players shine

Their regular coach was unavoidably pre-occupied, but members of the Fort Frances Badminton Club didn’t let that throw them off their medal-winning course.
Six of the club’s best youth players took part in the Winnipeg City Junior Open badminton championships in Winnipeg last weekend, with the contingent making several finals and consolation finals.
With Manami Alexander unable to fulfill her coaching duties due to personal commitments, her husband, Lawrence, took her place and used his previous coaching experience in the sport to keep the team on track.
Natalie Desjardins, who had advanced to the all-Ontarios this past spring as part of the Muskie senior doubles pairing of herself and sister, Simone, led the way for the Fort Frances contingent in Winnipeg.
First, she teamed up with Kenora’s Alicia Loucks to finish second in the under-16 girls’ doubles division, losing 2-0 in the best-of-three final to Meghan Stasiuk and Ashley Voth.
Game scores were 15-4 and 15-7.
Then in the under-16 girls’ singles category, Desjardins rebounded from an opening loss to Trinh Nguyen to win the consolation title over France Richards 2-0.
Game scores were 15-13 and 15-3.
Kimika Alexander also had a big weekend for the local club. The coach’s daughter went 1-1 in the round-robin of the under-12 girls’ doubles division with Winnipeg partner Caitlin Dansen to finish second.
The pair swept Alannah Harrison and Emily Schultz 2-0 (by scores of 15-16 and 15-7), but then were beaten 2-0 (15-8 and 15-7) by the team of Kendra Fiske and Kali Moberg.
Alexander also was beaten 2-1 by her doubles partner (Dansen) in the consolation final of the under-12 girls’ singles division by scores of 9-11, 11-10, and 11-5.
But then she triumphed with partner Robert Stevens from Fort Frances in the under-12 mixed doubles consolation final, defeating the team of Peterson/Braun 2-1 (13-15, 15-6, and 15-12).
Stevens lasted until the quarter-finals of the under-12 boys’ singles division, losing to Winnipeg’s Matthew Isaac 2-0 (15-7 and 15-12).
Colton DeVos of Winnipeg then combined with Stevens in the under-12 boys’ doubles event, with the pair losing to the Winnipeg duo of Reid Buchanan and Ian Laidlaw in the cross-over semi-finals.
(Game scores were not available as of press time).
Meanwhile, Tim Desjardins of Fort Frances made it to the consolation semi-final of the under-14 boys’ division before falling to Winnipeg’s Kyle Grymonpre by a 2-0 margin (15-7 and 15-6).
He also teamed up with Winnipeg’s Ken Xoumphonphackdy to go 1-1 in the round-robin portion of the under-14 boys’ doubles event before losing in the semi-finals to Winnipeg’s Mike Crowson and Chris Voth.
(No game scores from Desjardins’ doubles matches were available by press time).
Jason Pattison and Zack McBride joined forces to reach the quarter-finals of the under-19 boys’ doubles division, where the Fort Frances tandem was swept 2-0 (15-9 and 15-11) by the team of Dobslaw/Cooper from Winnipeg.
Pattison and McBride then went their separate ways in the under-19 boys’ singles division, where McBride reached the semi-finals before losing to Ryan Skelton of Winnipeg 2-0 (15-8 and 15-9).
Pattison had been derailed by Skelton in the quarter-finals (the score of that match was unavailable at press time).
And in the under-19 mixed doubles, Pattison and Natalie Desjardins went 2-0 during the round-robin to finish first in the upper half of the draw.
But their roll ended abruptly when they were upset by the lower half runner-up pairing of Xoumphonphackdy/Sexton 2-0 (15-5 and 15-9).
McBride and his partner, Kari Parsons from the Wildwood Club (Winnipeg), were 0-2 in the lower half of the draw, then lost in the consolation final to the Winnipeg duo of Biglow/Sutherland by a 2-0 margin (15-11 and 15-8).