Olympic badminton player Anna Rice demonstrates form in Smithers last Saturday.

Olympic badminton player Anna Rice demonstrates form in Smithers last Saturday.

Olympian brings badminton to the Bulkley

Bulkley Valley badminton players had a rare chance to learn from the best last weekend, as Beijing Olympian Anna Rice put on a clinic at Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School for over a dozen badminton players of all ages.

Bulkley Valley badminton players had a rare chance to learn from the best last weekend, as Beijing Olympian Anna Rice put on a clinic at Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School for over a dozen badminton players of all ages. The clinic was part of the North Central Badminton Academy’s Northern B.C. Badminton Roadshow, which travelled across Highway 16 communities, with Rice offering free clinics for school teachers, followed by day camps for players interested in honing their skills.

Although she grew up in the Lower Mainland and has been to over 50 countries, Rice said she was surprised when she realized this was the first time she’d been to Northern B.C.

“This has been great,” she said. “I’m really enjoying connecting with the grassroots of badminton.”

Promoting the sport of badminton is one of her goals, both as a world-class player, and as an ambassador for Healthy Families B.C.

“Since I retired from the Canadian team, one of my goals is to see the sport grow. This is a great way to inspire kids to play badminton,” she said.

One aspect of the sport Rice loves is its appeal to all ages and skill levels. Even beginners can enjoy the game, and players of any age can be matched up against each other.

The 18 players at Ebenezer last Saturday ran through drills and went over technique with Rice, with strategy and skills getting equal time on the courts.

“It’s a very complex and complete sport. I like to call it physical chess,” said Rice.