The true mark of a champion is someone who doesn’t shy away from fierce competition. Whitehorse’s Julien Revel fits that description.
In fact, he invited his toughest opponent to play at the Yukon Open Squash Championships over the weekend.
Revel won his third straight open men’s title at the championships on Saturday, defeating former Ontario men’s B division champion, Josh Ginou 15-12, 15-10, 8-15, 15-12 in the final at Better Bodies.
“The home-field advantage, that helps,” said Ginou. “I made less mistakes than he did and made the best of it. It was a good game.”
Ginou’s presence at the tournament was a spur-of-the-moment occurrence. Revel and Ginou met while competing at the national championship just over a week ago in Vancouver, BC, meeting in the quarterfinals of the consolation rounds in the men’s A division.
“He had just eliminated me from the tournament and we were having a beer after the tournament and he said I should come up to the Yukon, they’re having a tournament,” said Ginou. “I thought I’d get another crack at him.
So I was able to reroute my flight and take a detour through the Yukon on the way back.
“He’s in a little better shape; I think training high in the mountains gives him a bit of an advantage. He’s a good player, gets a lot of nice shots and is very consistent. He put me under a lot of pressure and I wasn’t able to get a foothold.”
At the nationals, Revel, the only Yukoner to compete, made the quarterfinals in the men’s A division, defeating the No. 4 seed along the way, before getting knocked into the consolation round, where he met Ginou.
“I played six matches in three days, so it was tough,” said Revel. “But I’m glad I did good training and I would like to thank my sponsor, Media Solutions. They helped make me going to the Nationals possible.
“Being the only one from the Yukon, it was great beating those guys from Alberta and BC. It’s like, ‘Where are you from? Oh, the Yukon. Do you guys have any good players?’ ‘Yeah, I just beat you.’”
In the battle for third, Blaine Tessier defeated Sam Penner for the bronze.
Instead of mixing women players into men’s divisions, this year’s tournament featured a women’s A division, won by Terri Cairns, defeating past champion Lori Muir 13-15, 15-12, 15-9, 10-15, 15-11 in the final.
“We play against each other in the league and at least once or twice a week, and Lori consistently kicks my ass,” said Cairns. “It’s so funny because I told her this morning before we started that ‘last night I went to bed thinking about you, this morning I woke up thinking about you’ – I’ve just been visualizing like crazy because at the end of this season I kind of caught up and we started to have neck-and-neck matches.
“So I felt much more confident. Usually I get more nervous and have mental-game issues. So I’ve been focusing on the moment, the point, calming down, placing the ball and it’s really improved our games.”
The win marks the first time Cairns defeated Muir, who is ranked No. 1 in Squash Yukon women’s rankings ahead of No. 2 Cairns, in a tournament setting.
“Terri has been coming up the last couple of years and lately she’s been taking a few games from me and today she pulled it off,” said Muir. “She’s a fighter – and so am I, but she deserves it. She fought hard for it.”
Not only did Cairns come back from a game down early on in the final, she overcame a 10-3 deficit in the deciding fifth game.
“I was starting to get that panicked craze that I get, but I shut it down,” said Cairns. “I was able to focus and slowly climb back up.
“I almost threw up three times in the final game because she ran me and ran me,” said added. “My movement was on this match and that helped me significantly.
“And also Lori is running the tournament too, so I think she’s distracted.”
Elmy Harris took third in the division.
In the men’s B division, Jim Gilpin took the top spot with a 16-14, 13-15, 15-12, 15-12 win over Eric Bardin in the final. Taking third was Stephen Buckler with a 15-12, 16-14, 12-15, 15-10 win over Stephen Grundmanis.
Taking the men’s C division was Coleman Newell, narrowly beating out second place finisher Shahid Syed in the round-robin format draw. In the men’s D division it was Logan Harris, undefeated in four matches, dropping only one set in the tournament to second place finisher Graydon McDonnell.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com