Going to the LA for the USA International tournaments is always a highlight as I get to see family from my mom’s side. But it is also a great opportunity to catch up with my friends from Pan America and Europe as most of them enjoy coming to the USA. This year had result highlights as well as I made the quarter final in Men’s Singles. I knew before leaving for LA that the tournament was going to be hard for me because the draw I had was really tough. I played the number two seed of the tournament from Peru in the first round. Daniel La Torre Regal is a great athlete. I won in a tough three set match. After losing the first quite badly I pulled my game together and fought to a win in an exhausting hour plus long match.
In the second round I played a fellow Canadian. In the first set I came from 20-18 behind to win, only to lose the second 26-24 after having a game point at 20-19. I was able to really push forward, using my physical game to win the third. However, early in the third set I slipped quite badly and smashed my heel. In the adrenaline of the match I felt only minor pain and pushed through it. However the next morning I was barely able to walk. I did all I knew for recovery, and went to the tournament doctor to get cold spray and everything possible before my quarter final match. I attempted to play through. Sadly after the first smash it was apparent I could not move without extreme pain. I played through the match to avoid the fine for withdrawing, (which I was later found I was misinformed about) but was unable to put up any kind of fight.
The ranking points I earned should put me between 280 and 290 in the world. I should find out this coming week. A first time breaking 300 in world in men’s singles! It is still a long ways to go to top 100 which is needed for Olympic qualification. But as funds comes in I will continue to play tournaments and gain ranking, and see what comes next.
Being in Manitoba has been a hard transition in some ways. Training hasn’t always gone as planned, but I thought it was the next move for me. There have been some huge positives from the coaching side including working up north on reservations. On the training side I have run into some obstacles. I have been focusing on improving my fitness– the 1% I have control of now. Both my matches ended with my fitness being a key component to finishing out the three sets. It is a neat confirmation that I am moving the right direction.
I am doing all I can to get my foot to heal, while coaching this week in Winnipeg. Next week I head to Calgary to coach for Gao badminton.
One of the great privileges of being a coach is going into remote places to help jumpstart athletic programs. We got to do this in northern Manitoba.
We took a small plane in and landed on a gravel airstrip many hours late of our scheduled arrival time. We were met by the head of education. We got to talking right away and he said something fascinating. He said, and I paraphrase, “sports gives kids freedom. And beyond that it gives them skills and identity to move ahead in life. In a hopeless world sports gives kids opportunity and skills. Sports has saved this community,”
Sports has the ability to give kids hope through opportunity to go places, get university scholarships, and it gives positive attitude and identity. One of the huge positives of sports is giving kids mastery of something and the ability to learn. Those skills reach far beyond sports. Many impoverished kids struggle to find identity, or opportunities where they can succeed. Sports becomes something to focus and thrive at while also creating opportunities to get out of town, meet people, and open up new opportunities.
Playing professional badminton on the international circuit while coaching kids gives me a unique opportunity to share my own experiences and motivate and inspire kids to pursue their callings, wether in sports or someplace else. Hope is about holding onto the idea that things can change. Sports is all about creating change, in yourself, and in your teammates.
Yesterday my play at Brazil International ended with a tough loss to Italy in the last 32. I gained 920 world ranking points in the process.
I am really pleased with the training and my adjustments that I made here, as well as my overall competition performance. Losing is never fun, but I am playing at a good level, and only improving. I am pleased to be competing with people who train full time and compete at three or four times as many International events as me. This is a good sign. I am doing the right things and making progress.
I leave on Sunday for Cuba. Looking forward to improving on my performance and continuing to push my limits.
I have a long journey in front of me–good thing I like to sweat! haha. If you are interested in supporting me, check out my gofundme. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you everyone.
Jamaica International has come to an end for me. I won my first two matches in some well fought matches, but lost my third to Osleni from Cuba. I am quite happy with performance so far as I had to fight back a few times to win my first two matches. I feel that I am making progress and improving my aggression and style of play as well as my consistency.
Thank you guys so much for your support. I head to Brazil next. It looks like I will have a really tough first round. Hoping to bring my energy and momentum into that match.
If you are interested in helping, check out my gofundme https://www.gofundme.com/kevinbarkmanbadmintonn
I really enjoy coaching, wether it is in China or North America it is always a great way to share the knowledge others have shared with me, while helping kids grow in their own way. When a kid gets something right and lights up it is one of the best feelings in the world as a coach. Being able to have some part to play in that excitement and passion is a real privilege. Coaching isn’t just work, or opportunity, it is a privilege. I get to share my own passion for the sport and for learning with kids who are also eager to move ahead and learn things.
Part of coaching is keeping my own desire and passion to learn and improve alive. For me keeping that fire alive is easiest when I surround myself with people who have the same intent and who are better than me. Sometimes that happens in training, sometimes at competitions.
As I head to these competitions this week (Jamaica, Brazil, Cuba) my intent is to want it (victory) more than anyone else. And to spend the time I have learning and improving. For myself, and for the kids I coach.
Cheers to leaving blood, sweat, and tears on the court, or wherever we are in life.
Thanks to generous sponsors and people I am headed to Jamaica, Brazil, and Cuba for their respective International Tournaments. I leave feb 25 for a few weeks of tournaments!
Since Nationals I have been training, working, and coaching, in Manitoba preparing as best I can for these tournaments. A few people here have been key in helping me improve and work on my game and I really appreciate their help!
I am very excited to be competing again, and hopefully improve upon my past results. I have learned a lot these past few months, and I am excited to put it all into practice!
Thanks again to everyone who supports me!
While training in China I got to play the Malaysia International. It was a rough match because I ate some bad food and found myself quite sick going into the game. However, it was a good experience to see the level at a small international tournament in Asia. it was quite different than playing in Pan America.
If you are interested in helping me continue my journey please consider donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/kevinbarkmanbadminton