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A smashing good time

Manitoba badminton players to test skills at Toronto tournament

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Andrew Harrison is a gentleman. It's not in his makeup to look down on an opponent.

Olympian and Canadian badminton champion Anna Rice would like to see that change, and at a recent Manitoba Badminton Association high-performance camp, where she was a guest coach, she made it quite clear to Harrison that he needed to "get above" his opponents more.

"That (the camp) was good," said the 6-foot-1 Harrison. "Rice has lots of experience and knowledge she can pass on. She also taught me little things, like not showing your opponent any weakness. If you are going to show an upset face, always turn away from your opponent, and never show him how you feel."

Harrison is one of 13 members of Manitoba's Canada Winter Games team who will compete in Toronto at the Senior Elite tournament Friday through Sunday as part of their preparations for the Canada Winter Games, Feb. 11-27 in Halifax.

Other male players heading east are Jordan Beettam, Kyle Grymonpre, Ian Laidlaw, Dan Savard and Zachary Peltz.

Female athletes who will compete in Toronto are Leah Inglis, Kristy Beettam, Alexandra Dansen, Melissa Liew, Sena Lam (currently living in B.C.) and Caitlin Dansen.

"It should be some pretty good competition," said Harrison. "It's the last tournament before the senior nationals, so most, if not all of the top senior players in Canada will be playing in it."

In his last senior tournament, Harrison finished in the quarter-finals. This time around he's hoping to put some of Rice's techniques to work for him.

"The No. 1 senior player in Canada, Alberta's Alex Pang, will be there. I've never played him before but I have seen him play," said Harrison.

He explained that Pang is shorter than him, so if they play each other he can put Rice's suggestion to "get above" him to good use.

But Harrison admits it won't be an easy task.

"Pang is very consistent and he pushes you around the court. He doesn't make many mistakes," he said.

Alexandra Dansen and Inglis also benefited from Rice's wisdom.

"I've been working on being more aggressive and going after the bird," said Inglis. "Rice also helped me with the mental and technical side of the game, like mainly keeping a positive attitude. I am pretty hard on myself, when things aren't going my way."

"I've been working a lot on cardio, so I realized that instead of trying to finish the bird really quick I have learned to try and keep it going," said Dansen. "Because I am fit, I can wear the other person down and make them miss the shot rather than me forcing my shot."

 

allan.besson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 6, 2011 C6

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