By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
Team Manitoba’s badminton squad hit up national tournaments and camps in the leadup to the 2023 Canada Winter Games with hopes of bringing the team closer together, before the country’s largest multi-sport competition.
“We were focused on trying to get athletes from all across the province experience playing against each other more frequently, Trying to do that through camps, and individual sessions with our coaches, too,” said head coach Justin Friesen.
Justin’s coaching at his third Canada Games, and his highlight so far was the team event.
“Team event for Canada Games is always the best event. The energy is really high and it’s really fun to get inspired by all the different provinces – and seeing so many have great performances because of all that energy.”
Coaching athletes like Christopher Wiebe, an athlete who competes out of Justin’s club, Prairie Badminton, is highlight number two.
Christopher played the most matches out of all the Manitoba badminton athletes.
“We focused on checking in before and after his matches, rest and recovery in preparation is really important. We worked to remind him about all the things he does well and the things that got him here, to help him excel when he’s on the court.”
After this Games experience, Chris is motivated to train more consistently to improve his game.
“In the individual event, I won a couple games, and then in the team event, we had some very close battles. So far, I learned that I need to train a bit more consistently and intensely. My body is feeling the aches and pains – good aches and pains – but I need to work on my recovery at big events,” said Chris.
For him, the Games bring a whole new level of competition, an opportunity to see friends from all across the country, and the thrill of hearing all the Manitoba cheers.
“I like these competitions, I get to see my friends. Here, you’re playing against the best of the best in the whole country. It’s really hard, but really rewarding.”