Yukon’s badminton team may have lost their contests with the rival territories at the Western Canada Summer Games last week, but they did something neither NWT or Nunavut could.
They took matches off provinces.
Yukon’s Vanessa Carlson won against Saskatchewan’s Tracy Fehr in women’s singles on Friday, taking the match in three sets.
“I was pretty tired; it was my sixth match of the day, and two of those were singles,” said Carlson, who was chosen to be Yukon’s flag bearer in the closing ceremony on Sunday. “So I was tired, but she was tired too, and we both just battled it out. But when I’m tired, I can still hit the shots and she was hitting a lot out and into the net.
“It was basically who could stay strong the longest.”
In the match Carlson dropped the first set, but won the next two handily.
“After the first (set), I got a bit of a break and I was able to re-focus a bit,” said Vanessa. “After that the next two (sets) went pretty well for me and I didn’t have much trouble with her.”
Carlson was also on-board for her team’s other win over a province at the Games, teaming up with brother Jason Carlson in a mixed doubles win over Manitoba’s Valerie Chan and Dale Kinley in straight sets.
“It really pumped up the team a bit because that came before the win against Saskatchewan,” said Vanessa.
Vanessa and Jason, who are both multiple-time Yukon champions, represented the Yukon at the last two Arctic Winter Games, winning medals.
Though Yukon’s team lost to NWT and Nunavut, it was by no means lopsided, losing five matches to four in both cases.
“They are old rivals, so it made for lots of fun and excitement for everybody,” said Yukon head coach Randy Carlson. “We had a really young team, other than the two Carlson kids who are experienced. For the rest of the team, it was their first major Games, so we were really pleased with how well they performed. Of course there were some nervous jitters, which we expected, but they rose to the occasion and played really well.
“That’s one thing about the newer players, you could really see their improvement throughout the course of the Games.”
Unlike every other sports team that represented the Yukon at the Games, the majority of the badminton squad came from the communities. The Carlsons, along with team manager Janice Carlson, are from Watson Lake, while men’s players Alastair Findlay-Brook and Casey Parker both hail from Dawson City. The team’s remaining players, Afsal Djearam, Leanne Gordon, Montong Javannatum and Emily Knickle, are from Whitehorse.
“We’re looking towards the Arctic Winter Games – that’s our big plan – in Whitehorse, to develop these younger players and prepare them for the Arctics,” said Randy. “It worked out really well, they learned a lot and challenged them to keep working on their game and shoot for the Arctic Winter Games.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com