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Living the Dream: Wolfville teen making his mark in badminton


WOLFVILLE - He may be just 16 years old, but Miklos Kanyasi is already turning heads in the sport of badminton.

The Wolfville native, who is in Grade 10 at Horton, recently won the intermediate boys’ singles at the NSSAF badminton provincials, after also placing first at both the district and regional level.  At the U-23 nationals earlier this year, he reached the semifinal and ended up placing third overall.

Although he also plays soccer for both Horton and for Valley United, as well as tennis in the summer, badminton is his number-one sport.

He has been playing badminton in a serious way for about five years.

“My parents tied a string to a tree. That’s how I got started,” he said.

Kanyasi would spend time batting at the shuttle hanging from the string to work on his skills.

 

Good role models

Kanyasi says he “grew up watching some very good players.”

His mother was teaching at NKEC, which had a good club at the time, first under the direction of Gary MacDougall and then John Vanderweit. The Northeast Kings badminton club has since ceased operation, but Kanyasi still trains with MacDougall.

“He was the Nova Scotia Canada Games coach in 2011,” Kanyasi said. “It’s great to have him around here, and to have him as a coach.”

Even though there isn’t an organized club locally, Kanyasi said he and MacDougall “have a good set-up,” training regularly at the Louis Millett Centre in New Minas.

“We do drills, and get a lot done,” he said. “The only thing I really lack is other players to play matches against. Match play is very important, and a lot different than drills. That’s why I try to play in as many tournaments as I can.”

Kanyasi not only enjoys competing, he also enjoys watching competition, especially at the higher levels.

“We have a lot more juniors than we have U-19 or U-23 players,” he said. “The younger players enjoy watching the older players compete. I know I always did.”

 

 

Very competitive

“I love competing, just being on the court. I find it’s a lot of fun. It’s my sport,” he said.

Kanyasi tried out for the 2015 Canada Games team but didn’t make it. He wasn’t all that upset.

“There were a lot of talented older players, and this would have been their last chance. I’ll still be eligible in 2019,” he said.

In his quest to play as much badminton as possible, Kanyasi competed in mixed doubles as well as boys’ singles in school badminton. He and his partner, Emma Murphy, advanced to provincials but didn’t end up winning.

He also plays badminton at the club level, even though he “isn’t really part of a club.” He competed in U-17 at the junior nationals, which was “a great experience,” and was very happy with his third place showing overall.

His quest to play as many matches as he can “was the reason I went to nationals. This is my last year in U-17. Next year, I’ll have to play U-19.”

At nationals in Winnipeg, he competed in boys’ singles, boys’ doubles (with a partner from Ontario) and mixed doubles (with a partner from Halifax).

“I usually like to have a partner beforehand,” he said. “It’s easier to play with someone you’re used to, rather than someone you don’t know.”

The nationals actually took place prior to the provincial and Atlantic championships. “It’s not necessary to win at provincials to qualify for nationals,” he said. “You can just enter, (but) there’s not much point in going unless you’re going to be competitive.”

 

Looking forward

As for his goals in badminton, Kanyasi hopes to the junior Pan-Am team this summer.

“It’s definitely worth shooting for,” he said. “I’d like to think I made an impression at nationals,” he added.

Competing in badminton at the Olympics is also on his wish list, but he acknowledged, “that will be tough. There are a lot of good players in Canada.”

He is already looking forward to the 2016 nationals, which will be played in Moncton.

“I’ll compete in U-19, which will be tough,” he says, but it will also be a good test of his ability to compete at that level.

“Moncton is a lot closer than Winnipeg, where it was this year. It’s a lot more worthwhile going, and easier to go because it’s closer.”

Kanyasi is aware he could end up using his skill in badminton to land a university scholarship, but as he is only in Grade 10, he has a while to think about that.

“(I want) to do well in my sport, do well in school, and see how far that takes me. I know I want to go to university somewhere, but I haven’t thought much about it.”

He also has no plans to stop playing badminton anytime soon,” he said.

“A lot of people make the Canada Games team and then quit. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to do that. Badminton isn’t that big a sport in Nova Scotia. It’s important to keep as many people playing as possible for as long as we can.”

The Wolfville native, who is in Grade 10 at Horton, recently won the intermediate boys’ singles at the NSSAF badminton provincials, after also placing first at both the district and regional level.  At the U-23 nationals earlier this year, he reached the semifinal and ended up placing third overall.

Although he also plays soccer for both Horton and for Valley United, as well as tennis in the summer, badminton is his number-one sport.

He has been playing badminton in a serious way for about five years.

“My parents tied a string to a tree. That’s how I got started,” he said.

Kanyasi would spend time batting at the shuttle hanging from the string to work on his skills.

 

Good role models

Kanyasi says he “grew up watching some very good players.”

His mother was teaching at NKEC, which had a good club at the time, first under the direction of Gary MacDougall and then John Vanderweit. The Northeast Kings badminton club has since ceased operation, but Kanyasi still trains with MacDougall.

“He was the Nova Scotia Canada Games coach in 2011,” Kanyasi said. “It’s great to have him around here, and to have him as a coach.”

Even though there isn’t an organized club locally, Kanyasi said he and MacDougall “have a good set-up,” training regularly at the Louis Millett Centre in New Minas.

“We do drills, and get a lot done,” he said. “The only thing I really lack is other players to play matches against. Match play is very important, and a lot different than drills. That’s why I try to play in as many tournaments as I can.”

Kanyasi not only enjoys competing, he also enjoys watching competition, especially at the higher levels.

“We have a lot more juniors than we have U-19 or U-23 players,” he said. “The younger players enjoy watching the older players compete. I know I always did.”

 

 

Very competitive

“I love competing, just being on the court. I find it’s a lot of fun. It’s my sport,” he said.

Kanyasi tried out for the 2015 Canada Games team but didn’t make it. He wasn’t all that upset.

“There were a lot of talented older players, and this would have been their last chance. I’ll still be eligible in 2019,” he said.

In his quest to play as much badminton as possible, Kanyasi competed in mixed doubles as well as boys’ singles in school badminton. He and his partner, Emma Murphy, advanced to provincials but didn’t end up winning.

He also plays badminton at the club level, even though he “isn’t really part of a club.” He competed in U-17 at the junior nationals, which was “a great experience,” and was very happy with his third place showing overall.

His quest to play as many matches as he can “was the reason I went to nationals. This is my last year in U-17. Next year, I’ll have to play U-19.”

At nationals in Winnipeg, he competed in boys’ singles, boys’ doubles (with a partner from Ontario) and mixed doubles (with a partner from Halifax).

“I usually like to have a partner beforehand,” he said. “It’s easier to play with someone you’re used to, rather than someone you don’t know.”

The nationals actually took place prior to the provincial and Atlantic championships. “It’s not necessary to win at provincials to qualify for nationals,” he said. “You can just enter, (but) there’s not much point in going unless you’re going to be competitive.”

 

Looking forward

As for his goals in badminton, Kanyasi hopes to the junior Pan-Am team this summer.

“It’s definitely worth shooting for,” he said. “I’d like to think I made an impression at nationals,” he added.

Competing in badminton at the Olympics is also on his wish list, but he acknowledged, “that will be tough. There are a lot of good players in Canada.”

He is already looking forward to the 2016 nationals, which will be played in Moncton.

“I’ll compete in U-19, which will be tough,” he says, but it will also be a good test of his ability to compete at that level.

“Moncton is a lot closer than Winnipeg, where it was this year. It’s a lot more worthwhile going, and easier to go because it’s closer.”

Kanyasi is aware he could end up using his skill in badminton to land a university scholarship, but as he is only in Grade 10, he has a while to think about that.

“(I want) to do well in my sport, do well in school, and see how far that takes me. I know I want to go to university somewhere, but I haven’t thought much about it.”

He also has no plans to stop playing badminton anytime soon,” he said.

“A lot of people make the Canada Games team and then quit. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to do that. Badminton isn’t that big a sport in Nova Scotia. It’s important to keep as many people playing as possible for as long as we can.”

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