The Pickleball Canada National Championships in Red Deer was a big success, says a member of the local organizing committee.
“The tournament’s been fantastic,” Patrick Galesloot said during the final day of event, which was hosted at Motorworks Field in the north end of the city.
“We’ve received positive feedback from people all across Canada here. We have roughly 800 registered players from across Canada. Roughly 400 are from Alberta with the remaining 400 from outside (of the province). We had people come from as far away as Fredericton, N.B.”
A lot of work was put in to make this event happen, said Galesloot.
“We started planning well over a year and a half ago when we made the bid and got awarded to host the event,” he said.
“Throughout the year, we had several meetings via Zoom. We kept planning, anticipating we were going to get the green light. There was a high level of stress in May when the COVID numbers continued to go up.
“We were extremely excited when we moved to Stage 3 (in the province’s relaunch plan) and the vaccine rollout was making things positive all across Canada so we could have everybody come and have some fun.”
Galesloot said the skill level and speed of the players “demonstrates that pickleball is more than just a seniors sport.”
“A lot of these players come from a tennis or squash background before they get into pickleball,” he said.
“They really bring the hand-eye coordination and racket skills to the court with them, and it really shows.”
Steve Deakin, a top ten pickleball player in North America, and his partner Ernesto Fajardo won the gold medal in the Men’s Doubles Skill Open competition.
“We’ve played together a bit on tour. When we found out this was an all-Canadian nationals, we thought it would be appropriate to play together here. It was good fun for us today,” Deakin said.
“I’m missing a couple of tour stops right now in the U.S. I haven’t competed in Canada in a long time. It was an honour to play in Canada with all the Canadians to help grow the sport. It was exceptional to play with Ernesto.”
“I was super lucky to be able to play with Steve. I’m so happy,” Fajardo added.
Galesloot said Deakin was a “premier attraction” at the event.
“When we call his name to the courts, the crowd comes to watch him,” said Galesloot.
Winners from Saturday and Sunday
Men’s Doubles 3.0 60-69
Gold: Fu Cheong Wong & Gerald Chan
Silver: Edward Desnoyers & Jamie Fry
Bronze: Delwyn Dalton & Tony Lam
Men’s Doubles 3.0 70+
Gold: Dennis Hockley & Dave Drader
Silver: Roy Fairweather & Yvon Lemieux
Bronze: Barry Ripper & Tim Schoepp
Men’s Doubles 4.0 35-49
Gold: Keith Bially & Damien Rondeau
Silver: Chris Friesen & Cory Streifel
Bronze: Nicholas Rush & Thomas Bauer
Men’s Doubles 4.0 70+
Gold: Leo Charney & Rod Ball
Silver: Greg Dobbie & Marek Foff
Bronze: Blair Henderson & John Diehl
Men’s Doubles 4.5 50-59
Gold: Sylvain Barabe & Patrick Huletsky
Silver: Brent Jahansson & Karl Stelting
Bronze: Brad Harris & Corey Osborne
Men’s Doubles 4.5 60+
Gold: Jeff Whipple & Grant Boulay
Silver: David Hesje & Darren Duncan
Bronze: Neil Maser Norman Kowalchuk
Men’s Doubles Open 50+
Gold: Barry Mah & Peter Brix
Silver: Martin Cote & Alain Lemay
Bronze: Horatio Pintea & Paul Morrison
Men’s Doubles Open 17-49
Gold: Steve Deakin & Ernesto Fajardo
Silver: Brad Chapman & Jorge Quitero
Bronze: Michael Botts Botterill & Jordan Renwick
Women’s Singles 3.0 10-49
Gold: Aireen Gorman
Silver: Jirawan Makila
Bronze: Maelyn Greenwood
Women’s Singles 3.0 50-64
Gold: Tera Jensen
Silver: Michelle Selk
Bronze: Jeanette Clark
Women’s Singles 3.0 65+
Gold: Elaine Larson
Silver: Noreen Hetherington
Bronze: Deborah Sutherland
Women’s Singles 4.5 10-49
Gold: Angie Walker
Silver: Anna Dyachenko
Bronze: Rebecca Hackman
Women’s Singles 4.5 50+
Gold: Pat Ellis
Silver: Irina Chulkova
Bronze: Kristina Lidster
Women’s Singles open 10-49
Gold: Leigh Bradwell
Silver: Grace Thomas
Bronze: Susan Pound
Women’s Singles Open 50+
Gold: Sara McNeil
Silver: Barbara Kerr
Bronze: Damaris Brix
Mixed Doubles Open 17-49
Gold: Kim Brent & Steve Deakin
Silver: Frederique Lambert & Ernesto Fajardo
Bronze: Leigh Bradwell & Cameron Rich
Mixed Doubles Open 50+
Gold: Damaris Brix & Peter Brix
Silver: Cookie Drake & Barry Mah
Bronze: Barbara Kerr & Samir Bhatnagar