A group of young Fort St. John badminton players are getting ready to compete in the BC Winter Games this month.
The four boys and four girls will be representing the Zone 8 region from Prince George to Fort Nelson when they take to the courts March 23 to 26.
“We’re ready. We’ve been training for these games since 2021, so two years now,” said team coach Rishav Sharma during a practice at Bert Ambrose school Sunday evening.
“The team is ready and I’m confident in my team,” he said. “They’re doing good.”
This year's Games are being held in Vernon, with badminton competition played at the Kelowna Badminton Club.
Sharma, himself an internationally renowned badminton player, started the local youth club in 2019 leading into the winter games held in Fort St. John in 2020, where five local players took part.
The racket sport has grown in popularity ever since, with 40-plus athletes ages 8 to 17 training under Sharma every Wednesday and Friday.
“I didn’t expect people would love badminton but it was a pretty good response. Everybody wants to give it a try,” Sharma said.
“It’s a very safe sport and it is an individual sport,” he added. “If you’re a good player, you will win the game.”
Representing the Zone 8 region at the Winter Games will be Elizabeth Binu, Rhea Lawrence, Tanisha Mustafa, Kori Meyer, Connor Vig, Ezra Wiebe, Advai Nair, and Cas Wheat.
Sharma has added an extra Sunday practice for the team to help build bonds among the players and improve their playing together before they leave town for the tournament.
“We will be looking for positions… first, second, third,” he said.