Former champ back on top at badminton championship

It's been a while since Whitehorse's John Pan held a badminton title. "I used to play 15 years ago," said Pan. "I used to win them from when I was 17 up to when I was in college.

It’s been a while since Whitehorse’s John Pan held a badminton title.

“I used to play 15 years ago,” said Pan. “I used to win them from when I was 17 up to when I was in college.”

Though it’s been about a decade since he hoisted a trophy, he wasn’t looking rusty at the Yukon Badminton Championships over the weekend at Porter Creek Secondary.

The 33-year-old took first in open men’s singles and followed up with a doubles title as well.

Pan took the singles title with a come-from-behind win over Adam MacDonald. Pan fought off three match-points for MacDonald in the second en route to a 19-21, 23-21, 21-9 win.

“It was very grueling, John was running me around, and by the end we were both exhausted,” said MacDonald. “We both played well, he took it in the end, but it was good fun.”

MacDonald is also getting back into the swing of things. He won the P.E.I. men’s title in 1999, “The last time I played competitive badminton,” said MacDonald. “This year I took it up again and made it to the finals and lost in three.”

“We usually play in the adult club,” said Pan. “What we’re trying to do now is get more people interested from out of town – that are new to town, I guess you could say.

“We’re trying to get more involved and go to outside tournaments, get back into it. We’re all retired juniors and now we want to get back into it, more for lifestyle and fitness.”

Watson Lake’s Jason Carlson, who won the open men’s title the last four years, was absent from the championship.

Also absent was an open women’s draw. Due to low numbers, no open women’s single champ was crowned this year. Additionally, there were too few women to hold open women’s doubles and open mixed doubles. So organizers just held a doubles event open to doubles teams of any make up.

Pan teamed up with Abbie Rotundi and took the open doubles title with a straight-set win over Peter Toth and Jackie Chen in the final.

“John and Abbie have been playing together for quite some time, so they are definitely strong opponents and smart players,” said Toth. “For my partner and I, we fought to the end and enjoyed ourselves.”

While Pan notched two titles a junior player took three.

Whitehorse’s Mannie Sharma was the only player to win three divisions over the weekend. The 14-year-old claimed gold in U14 boys singles, U14 boys doubles and U16 mixed doubles.

Sharma secured his singles title with a straight-set win over runner-up Lukas Kobler.

“In the second set it got pretty close and he started winning, but then I decided I didn’t want to go to a third set,” said Sharma. “So I played my hardest after that.”

Sharma won the U16 mixed doubles with Czarina Lubi and the boys doubles with brother Ritik Sharma, who also won the U14 boys singles title.

Both Sharma boys played for Yukon at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games this past March in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“It was really nice to play because a whole lot of players who didn’t come out last year played today,” said Mannie.

“I went to the Arctic Winter Games for badminton and that gave me a lot of experience and all the training for that really helped here.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Open men’s singles

Gold – John Pan

Silver – Adam MacDonald

Bronze – Peter Toth

Open doubles

Gold –  John Pan/Abbie Rotondi

Silver –  Peter Toth/Jackie Chen

Bronze –  Rob Johnson/Ethan Allen

U14 boys singles

Gold – Ritik Sharma

Silver – Bryce Anderson

Bronze – Daniel Kim

U14 girls singles

Gold – Isabel Magsucang

Silver – Abigal Cuenza

Bronze – Kathleen Lanigan

U16 boys singles

Gold – Mannie Sharma

Silver – Lukas Kobler

Bronze – Jared Morgan

U14 mixed doubles

Gold –  Isabel Magsucang/Carl Knickle

Silver –  Abigail Cuenza/Daniel Kim

Bronze –  Kathleen Lanigan/Ritik Sharma

U16 mixed doubles

Gold –  Mannie Sharma/Czarina Lubi

Silver –  Hanna Wirth/Trygg Jensen

Bronze –  Sam Winemute/Braydon Klassen

U14 boys doubles

Gold –  Mannie Sharma/Ritik Sharma

Silver –  Carl Knickle/Kaleb Pritchett

Bronze –  Rohit Sharma/Aamir Djearam