Young badminton player helps Manitoba earn a medal

Thompson badminton player Arnish Patel helped one of Manitoba's two under-14 teams earn a bronze medal at the 2012 Western Canadian team championships in Winnipeg Jan. 13-16.

Patel, a Grade 7 student who moved to Thompson from India last year, beat Taylor Whitehead 21-13, 21-13 in a singles match in the Jan. 15 bronze medal round and teamed up with Felix Tessier in the men's doubles event to beat Andrew Neil and Daniel Liew 21-17, 21-16 as Manitoba A compiled a perfect 7-0 record, winning 14 of 15 games, to beat Manitoba B for third place.

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Patel won two of four singles matches in the round-robin portion of the tournament, defeating Manitoba B's Liew 21-6, 21-5 and Taylor Paddison of Saskatchewan 21-4, 21-3 on Jan. 14. He opened the round robin with a 16-21, 21-19, 17-21 loss to Jack Lin of British Columbia on Jan. 13, and concluded it by losing 16-21, 19-21 to Kevin Lee of Alberta the following day.

In the men's doubles category, Patel and Tessier beat Niel and Liew of Manitoba B 21-10, 21-13 in the round robin and were also victorious over Paddison and Tanor Thomas of Saskatchewan 21-4, 21-5. They lost15-21, 14-21 to Lin and Jeffrey So of B.C. on the tournament's openig day and finished the round robin with a 17-21, 8-21 loss to Lee and Nicholas Pittman of Alberta.

B.C. took first place in the under-14 competition, while Alberta finished second.

Patel, who practises at R.D Parker Collegiate with the Thompson Badminton Club, played badminton for two years in India before moving to Canada. He won gold in the under-14 boys doubles competition and silver in both the under-14 boys singles and mixed doubles competitions at the Junior City Open and Western Canadian team championship try-outs in Winnipeg last October, his first tournament since arriving to Canada. The top two athletes from each gender in the under-14 and under-16 events at the tournament qualified for Manitoba's Western Canadian championship team.

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