Kevin Barkman, Hope Through Sports

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 a 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 World Championships with the 2024 Olympics being the next goal. 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 2022 while continuing to strive toward the 2024 Olympics!

Kevin is a 26-year-old badminton player who has been chasing his dream of professional badminton since his young teenage years. We as his parents raised him overseas where we 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 shared 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 Li Mao in China for several months, rekindling possibilities. Over the past 2 years of focusing on badminton, he has 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/coach 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 to Alberta, 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, and friends he met at gyms, chatted with at airports, gained advice from, and coached—these people have allowed him to get a start on the international circuit. Since his move to Manitoba, he has been sponsored by Sweaty Training and Conditioning and Dynamic Physiotherapy in Steinbach, giving him a big boost forward this year despite the interruption to competition in 2020 and 2021.  Gao Badminton has invested in his training while giving him opportunity to coach to cover his expenses. The village has begun to gather.

Given the Olympic timeline, Kevin is focusing soley 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 January, 2020, Kevin's MS ranking was 305 based on 4,180 points accumulated in 6 tournaments after his recovery from a high ankle sprain and break near the end of 2018. Before his first planned international tournament in 2020, COVID19 suspended national and international competition. Despite the difficulties of COVID, Kevin has continued to train as much as possible, gaining a lot of fitness as well as taking advantage of every opportunity to do on-court training. International competition is slowly resuming, and Kevin is ready to get back on the circuit. He had plans to resume competition this summer, but with multiple cancellations and continuing travel restricts, he plans to start with an International Challenge in just under 2 months.

2021 Tournament Plans through October:

Mexico International Challenge, September 1-5
Brazil International Series, September 8-12
Guatemala International Series, September 22-26
Dutch International Challenge, October 13-17
India International Challenge, October 19-24

The average cost for each tournament is $2,500, which should cover travel including the new restrictions due to COVID. 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 r ranking on 9 tournaments instead of the 5 he currently has. 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!
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Organizer and beneficiary

Cynthia Barkman 
Organizer
Spokane, WA
Kevin Barkman 
Beneficiary
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