The Scott McAdam Badminton Tournament – an annual event in Hay River – saw a big increase in the number of participants when it was held on Dec. 7 & 8.
That’s because a new division for pre-juvenile athletes in Grade 6 and Grade 7 was added to the tournament.
“We saw a pretty big increase in numbers,” said Pat Morris, one of the organizers of the event and the phys-ed teacher at Princess Alexandra School.
Morris noted the number of registrations were at about 160.
“Last year, we had just over 100,” he said. “So it increased probably 50-60 people.”
To accommodate the growth in numbers, the younger divisions played their games in the gym at Princess Alexandra School.
“That gave us a little more space to open up the category to the younger division,” said Morris.
Two of the players in the new pre-juvenile division were Caleb Swan and Jack Pettipas, both 11-year-old Grade 6 students at Princess Alexandra School.
They teamed up to win a gold medal in doubles.
“I like playing because it’s a challenge,” said Swan. “People always like a challenge. So that’s why I like people coming from out of town.”
Pettipas said the tournament was really fun.
“You don’t know all their skill levels and you have to figure it out as the game goes on,” he said of the visiting players.
In previous years, the tournament only took place in the gym at Diamond Jenness Secondary School, where the older players again competed this year.
Morris organized the tournament with Peter Beaton and Phil Goguen, two teachers from Diamond Jenness.
The tournament is sponsored by the Mackenzie Recreation Association.
Morris noted that, along with Hay River, players came from schools in Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and even a few from Inuvik.
It is an open tournament, the organizer added. “We do have an open division for adults, as well.”
Morris said badminton is a popular sport, based on the number of students playing at Princess Alexandra School.
“All the kids get to join,” he said. “There’s a varied skill level, as well. It surprises me every year how much the kids enjoy playing badminton. It’s great.”