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Barkman heads field at Badminton Nationals

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 04/27/2015 9:57 AM

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Steinbach's Kevin Barkman, a rising star on the provincial and national badminton scene, is the number one ranked player in the field at the Canadian U23 Badminton Championships, which are being held at the University of Winnipeg this week. The Yonex U23 and Junior National Badminton Championships get underway this afternoon and will run all week, wrapping on Saturday with the national finals.

The U23/Junior Championships is the largest event of the year on the Badminton Canada calendar, which will include more than 300 badminton players from across the country.

As the number one seed in the tournament, Barkman, 20, receives a bye in the opening round matches in the field of about 64 players. However, he will be competing in the quarter-finals Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

In addtion to his attempts at winning the U23 national title, he will also be playing in an exhibition match Friday night against Peter Gade from Denmark, the former number one player in the world, considered one of the best to have ever played the game. Gade will play exhibitions against both Barkman, ranked seventh in Canada overall, and Winnipeg's David Snider, a former three-time national champion.

Although Barkman's family roots are in Steinbach, his family travelled as missionaries and he lived in the Philippines for seven years, where badminton is one of the most popular sports in that country. His focus right now is on training and raising his level of play to make the national team and compete on the international stage.

As for the opportunity to play against Gade in Friday's exhibition, "this is a dream come true for me, I am unbelievably excited to have the opportunity and I am still trying to get into my head that I will get to see my lifelong sports hero on the other side of the badminton court."

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