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Harrison doubles down with second triple crown

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You can call it a triple-double for Andrew Harrison, and we’re not talking about a coffee order or a basketball stat line.

The 21-year-old badminton star from Fort Rouge won his second consecutive triple crown at the Yonex Provincial Badminton Championships earlier this month.

Harrison won a three-set final over Ryan Giesbrecht to capture the men’s singles championship, teamed up with his brother, David, to win the men’s doubles title over Giesbrecht and partner Justin Friesen, and finished off the feat with a mixed doubles victory with partner Vanhphen Souvannarath over Sean Chawla and Kathryne Desautels.

"It’s probably the biggest local tournament we have, so it’s a pretty big deal for me," Harrison said. "I go in thinking I should win, but it’s definitely not easy. There are quite a few good players around."

Harrison said his game was in good form throughout the event, which should serve him well as he prepares for the final major event of his season, the under-23 national championships in Saskatoon in May.

He made the quarter-finals of that event last year, and is hoping to get at least one round deeper into the tournament this time around.

"The goal would be top-four for sure," said the Winnipeg Winter Club member, who got into the sport at a young age, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.

Harrison shared some of his provincial championship joy with one of those brothers, David, in the doubles event, but had to defeat him in a singles semifinal to advance to the championship game. Is the competition fiercer between brothers, or is it more difficult to find that killer instinct against someone who shares your blood?

"It’s definitely different than playing a non-family member," Harrison said. "It’s always tougher to beat your older brother than other people. You both know each other’s game better than anyone else, so it’s almost an advantage for both of us. It’s definitely more of a chess game."

The two also met in last year’s singles final, which the younger Harrison won for his first provincial title.

Asked to describe his approach to the game, Harrison describes himself as a physical, aggressive player who likes to be on the attack. When an opportunity presents itself, he tries to finish the rally quickly.

The civics student at the University of Winnipeg is planning to go into engineering in the near future. That might force badminton to take a backseat to his studies. But until then, Harrison is focused on trying to win a national championship.

"Once I figure out what I’m doing with school, we’ll see how much I want to pursue (high-level national and international badminton)," he said. "But the under-23 nationals is what I’m aimed at now."

The other provincial champions were 17-year-old Haley Nakonechny in women’s singles, and Souvannarath along with partner Clarissa Koh in women’s doubles.

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

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