Kevin Barkman’s goal is to inspire hope in the next generation through competing in badminton. He wants to help kids and show them that anything is possible, regardless of where you come from. Kevin provides high quality training to those who can least afford it. He wants to show the next generation the path, but he has to walk it first. It’s a big dream. An impossible dream, really. They say it takes a village. It requires community that supports this goal for gold to show young people that anything is possible. It takes a village that empowers the next generation by sending an unlikely contender to Olympics and World Championships. You can be part of that village, inspiring hope by helping Kevin get to the Olympics and World Championships.
I am Kevin's mom and am helping him manage his badminton journey. As missionaries whose home is in Manitoba, Canada but have lived all over the world, we are excited about this opportunity for Kevin. We currently live in Spokane, Washington and work at Moody Aviation, a school that trains missionary pilots.
The goal includes funding received for past tournaments, as well as funding for Kevin's tournaments through the end of the year, which should put him a good spot to qualify for worlds in 2021 while continuing to strive toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!
Kevin is a 23-year-old badminton player who has been chasing his dream of professional badminton since his young teenage years. Kevin’s parents raised him overseas where they supported local communities through a non-profit. Kevin was surrounded by need and saw badminton open doors to kids that otherwise lacked opportunity. He wanted to help, and he believed he could eventually do so through badminton. As a young teen, Kevin told his parents his dream of playing Peter Gade. As a 20-year-old, he played Gade in an exhibition game in Manitoba. It was a dream come true. When Kevin was at the end of his resources, he was offered an opportunity to train with Coach LiMao in China for several months, rekindling possibilities. Earlier this year, he coached in a northern community in Manitoba where the local coach explained how sports has given the kids hope and the chance of a better future. These experiences have fueled Kevin’s passion to compete professionally and train the next generation to excel in badminton.
This passion has driven Kevin to train on his own, to compete without a coach or manager, and to relentlessly chase excellence. From Manitoba to Ontario to Washington, Kevin has found gyms for physical training, sparring partners to hit with, and work to earn funds. The generosity of friends—those who have supported him financially, those he has trained with, met at gyms, chatted with at airports, gained advice from, and coached-- has allowed him to get a start on the international circuit. The village has begun to gather.
Given the Olympic timeline, Kevin is taking a break from school to focus solely on badminton and earning the necessary funds to move forward. Kevin made this decision in January, 2018 when his world ranking was 659 based on 1300 ranking points from 3 tournaments. As of March 2019, Kevin's MS ranking is 303 based on having accumulated 4,250 points in 6 tournaments. In 2018 he competed in Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, USA, Mexico and Guatemala. Kevin has made this progress despite a high ankle break and bad sprain in October, 2018.
Men's Singles Ranking as of March 12, 2019: 303
Jamaica International Series, March 7-10, 2019 Result, round of 32. Ranking following week: 303 Vietnam International Challenge, April 9-14 Brazil International Challenge, May 2-5, 2019 Canada Open 2019, July 2-7, 2019 Yonex US Open 2019, July 9-14 Silicon Valley International Series, July 17-21 Mexico International Series, September 19-22 Guatemala International Series, September 25-29 Yonex/K&D US International Challenge, December 17-21
The average cost for each tournament is $1,500. With those costs, it’s obvious Kevin doesn’t stay in fancy hotels or eat gourmet food. In addition to travel, he needs support for training. Reaching this goal would allow Kevin to base this year's ranking on 9 tournaments instead of the 5 he will have next week when he loses last year's Cuba points. This is amazing when you consider that most Olympic hopefuls have at least the minimum 10 tournaments to count for ranking points.
Consider how you might help a young athlete provide hope to the next generation through badminton.
Funds will be directed to Kevin for each tournament on the list. If there are funds beyond what is needed for the tournaments, funds will be used to help Kevin cover living expenses, thereby allowing him to spend more time training. Thanks for enabling Kevin to compete, coach, and mentor!