Badminton is thriving in the Eastman region.
123 badminton players, young & old, took part in the Yonex Eastman Open hosted by the Manitoba Badminton Association this past weekend at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School.
"It is one of the best tournaments that Badminton Manitoba hosts in the whole province every year," said tournament organizer Marj Niemi of Lac du Bonnet. "It is also one of the largest ones and there was some really, really cool stuff happening this past weekend. For the first time we put in a U13 category so we had a whole bunch of little kids running around learning about badminton. As well we had adults of all ages come out. There was some really good badminton to watch, some good games and lots of fun."
Niemi explained why over 120 badminton players from all over Manitoba, competitive and non-competitive, registered for the Eastman Open.
"Partly because it's billed as a grassroots tournament. It's a rural tournament for people that don't necessarily want to play the really high level tournaments. It uses different kind of birds than what the high level tournaments and it's more for fun."
The first Yonex Eastman Open took place in 2012 when Niemi and Mike Carter of Whitemouth got the tournament off and running.
"It was a way of getting kids and adults involved out in this area," said Niemi."There's quite a few clubs but they had no place to play a tournament so we kind of did this and it's just kind of really exploded."
"Now, particularly the kids, the ones that are going to this tournament - they go and they have fun and they see a whole bunch of stuff. They go back to school and they say, 'Hey I did this on the weekend,' and now all of a sudden their friends are coming out to play and it's gone really, really huge. Not every town but in a lot of the towns in the region."
Mens Singles: Kevin Barkman (Steinbach) def. Tommy Mckee (Kenora) 21-23, 21-9, 21-16
Ladies Singles: Duyen Nguyen (Winnipeg) def. Victoria Porayko (Selkirk) 21-12, 21-12
Mens Doubles: Scott Schalla (Steinbach) & Dale Kinley (Stonewall) def. Brad Stevenson & Dave Ardiel (Brandon) 21-7, 21-12
Ladies Doubles: Lillian Lau & Katherine Lee (Winnipeg) def. Brittany Bartel & Cheryl Bartel (Brandon) 25-23, 15-21, 21-12
Mixed Doubles: Kevin Barkman (Steinbach) & Brittany Bartel (Brandon) def. Justin Friesen (Grunthal) & Tasia Lightly (Winnipeg) 21-14, 21-9
Boys Singles: Ryne Sitar (Whitemouth) def. Derick Huynh (Winnipeg) 21-19, 23-21
Boys Doubles: René Piché & Derick Huynh (Winnipeg) def. Brendan Bighetty & Eugene Kakewash (Grand Rapids) 18-21, 21-17, 21-14
Mixed Doubles: Mark Shinnie (Teulon) & Anicka Esau (Steinbach) def. Brendan Bighetty & Ashelle Dick (Grand Rapids) 21-17, 14-21, 21-16
Boys Singles: René Piché (Winnipeg) def. Avery Dick (Grand Rapids) 21-18, 21-14
Girls Singles: Mackenzie Ftoma (Whitemouth) def. Emalia Sinclair (Warren) 15-21, 21-18, 21-18
Boys Doubles: Justin Levesque & Ethan Lindsay (Stonewall) def. Avery Dick & Eric Turner (Grand Rapids) 21-16, 21-15
Girls Doubles: Micah Reimer (Blumenort) & Emilia Sinclair (Warren) def. Paige Hobbs (Lac du Bonnet) & Tammy Mitchell (Grand Rapids) 21-11, 21-12
Mixed Doubles: Avery Dick & Charisma Ferland (Grand Rapids) def. Zane Brandt & Micah Reimer (Blumenort) walkover
Boys Singles: Easton George (Grand Rapids) def. Traytaen Halcrow (Grand Rapids) 21-14, 13-21, 21-14
Girls Singles: Sasha St. Pierre (Lac du Bonnet) def. Ghajaayine Senthilkumaran (Winnipeg) 21-11, 21-12
Boys Doubles: Easton George & Traytaen Halcrow (Grand Rapids) def. Riley Chapel (Pinawa) & Brandon Lockhart (Winnipeg) 21-9, 21-14
Girls Doubles: Emma Boulet & Serenity Poirier (Lac du Bonnet) def. Sasha St. Pierre & Paisley Poirier (Lac du Bonnet) 21-19, 21-18
Mixed Doubles: Easton George (Grand Rapids) & Paisley Poirier (Lac du Bonnet) def. Traytaen Halcrow (Grand Rapids) & Emma Boulet (Lac du Bonnet) 21-14, 21-16
Singles: Bere Reimer (Blumenort) def. Sarah Koslowsky (Kleefeld) 22-20, 16-21, 21-18
Doubles: Bere Reimer & Liyu Reimer (Blumenort) def. Sarah Koslowsky (Kleefeld) & Matvey Zuev (Steinbach) 21-7, 21-9
action photos courtesy Ian Clara
winner pictures courtesy Ryan Giesbrecht