Making up for lost time

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

David Snider was supposed to make his debut at the Under-19 Junior Canadian National Badminton Championships last year in Saskatoon, Sask.

But, after breaking his right ankle in a skateboarding accident last March, he had to wait a year for his chance to play with the big boys.

"I was going down a railing and I just fell off and twisted my ankle," recalled Snider.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 student at the Vincent Massey Collegiate Sports Program has been making up for lost time with his performance this week at the Under-19 Junior Nationals at the Winnipeg Winter Club.

The 2005 provincial junior singles and doubles champ downed Ontario's Alex Stephen 15-4, 15-6 yesterday to advance to the boys singles quarter-finals and become the last Manitoban still standing in the main events.

"This makes up for (the disappointment of last year)," said the fourth-seeded Snider who defeated B.C.'s Timothy Ma in last night's quarter-finals 15-11, 15-9. "I'm pretty happy (with the way things have gone this week)."

Fellow Manitoban Ben Fultz lost to B.C.'s Derrick Ng 15-9, 15-9 in the Round of 16 yesterday and Fultz and Snider lost to the fifth-seeded duo of Francois Bourret and Francis LaForest 15-4, 15-4 in the Boys Doubles on Wednesday.

In the girls singles, Alana Westwood lost by default to Alberta's Belinda Cheung and Mary Sanders was beaten 11-1, 11-1 by Caroline Chee of Alberta on Wednesday.

"It's an advantage playing here," said Snider, who admits he's had the dates for the Under-19 Junior Nationals circled on his calendar for some time. "I've got a better feel for the courts and I'm kind of used to the heat (on the indoors courts).

"It's good to be able to sleep in your own bed and know where to eat."

Despite missing two months last year due to his misadventure with the skateboard, Snider managed to earn his way onto the Canadian team for last July's Pan Am Junior Championships in Lima, Peru. After missing the Under-16 Junior Nationals as well due to his injury, Snider didn't qualify for the national team as Fultz had done. Snider had to pay his own way to Peru and qualify through a series of tournaments.

In Peru, Canada finished second to the United States in the team competition. Individually, Snider reached the quarter-finals in the Under-17 Boys Singles.

The semifinals are today at 7 p.m., with the finals tomorrow at noon. Snider plays top-seed Alexander Pang from Alberta in one semifinal.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Among the 130 athletes from across Canada competing here this weekend is a pair of players from Nunavut, marking the first time Canada's newest territory is appearing at the Junior Nationals.


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