Local players attack at badminton champs
Edmonton players performed well at the championship, producing four of the six individual provincial champions (players compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles across three age categories). Wagner High School, was crowned champion for the intermediate age group.
Pittman is a multi sport athlete, but was practically born to play badminton. His parents, who met while playing for a club in high school, set up a string in their kitchen with a badminton bird their young son could swing at with a racquet. They didn force Nic to take lessons, but when he did start, at age 7, he immediately took to the sport. Even though he lost every game at his first tournament a year later, he kept going and won the city finals in Grade 7.
By the time he was a preteen, his skill had surpassed that of both his parents. He now trains for about nine hours a week, at the Derrick Golf and Winter Club, in lessons, and with his parents on the weekends.
Though he admits he could stand to improve both his backhand and mental strength in competition, he is a phenomenal all around player at least according to one of his high school coaches, Ned Beatty.
doesn have a bunch of rote shots that he goes to, Beatty explained. tests his opponent. he seeing where he will be able to play. It part of his focus. That what makes him a better athlete.
Pittman is equally exceptional in the classroom, according to his teachers at Wagner. Sports help him relax and focus during school.
gives you an edge I think, he said.
Eyota Kwan, 16, of Harry Ainlay High School won the intermediate category on the women side, beating out Okotoks Sasha Krawczyk.
Kwan also played badminton as a child but started training seriously about five years ago, also with the Derrick Club. (Pittman is her mixed doubles partner).
don know if I was exactly expecting to win, but it was pretty fun and exciting, she said.
Like Pittman, she missed the opportunity to compete last year because she was competing for her club.
Now she has her sights set on the national championships in Moncton this week.
Pittman won be attending the championship, preferring to wait a year, when he be at the top of his age category.
Both students aren sure if they continue playing badminton in university. NAIT has a good badminton program, but Pittman thinks he probably end up studying sciences at the University of Alberta. Kwan is researching NAIT but also looking at nursing programs elsewhere.