Kevin Barkman, Hope Through Sports

$950 of $2,940 goal

Raised by 10 people in 3 months
Created June 15, 2018
Kevin Barkman’s goal is to inspire hope in the next generation through competing in badminton at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 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 Tokyo. You can be part of that village, inspiring hope by helping Kevin get to the 2020 Olympics.

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.

We've decided to update the goal as tournaments come up. The goal right now includes limited funding received for the Canadian Open, K&D International Series in California, as well as funding for Kevin's next tournaments:


Kevin is a 23-year-old badminton player who has been chasing his dream of professional badminton 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. To participate in the Olympics requires an accumulation of qualifying points  which are earned by playing international tournaments. As of June, 2018, Kevin has accumulated 3,120 points through competing in Malaysia, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, and Cuba, giving him a men’s singles world ranking of 364.

Kevin has a chance to get more points if he can compete at upcoming International Tournaments. This is his list for the remainder 2018:

Canada Open (June)-- result: MS 33/64. Ranking with this result: 333
US International Series-- result MS 5/8. Ranking with this result: 281
Mexico International Series (September)
Guatemala International Series (September)
US International Challenge (December)

The average cost for each tournament is $1,500. Playing the minimum 22 tournaments needed over the next 2 years works out to $33,000. This covers entry fees, flights, food, and hotels. 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 living expenses and training. So reasonably, an additional $25,000 a year would really help him concentrate on training. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Consider how you might help a young athlete provide hope to the next generation through badminton. Here are a few ways you could help:

Fund a post-match recovery pack                     $4.00

Fund string for a racket                       $11.00

Fund a tournament lunch                       $15.00

Fund a tournament dinner                       $20.00

Fund a tube of shuttlecocks                       $25.00

Fund a month’s gym membership                   $45.00

Fund a tank of gas for training transportation           $60.00

Fund a night’s hotel at a tournament               $75.00

Fund a tournament entry fee                     $120.00

Fund a North American airfare                     $300.00

Fund an international airfare                     $500.00

Join with friends to fund a tournament                $1500.00

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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An update from Kevin:
Going to the LA for USA International tournaments is always a highlight as I get to see family from my mom’s side. But it is also a great opportunity to catch up with my friends from Pan America and Europe as most of them enjoy coming to the USA. This year had result highlights as well as I made the quarter final in Men’s Singles. I knew before leaving for LA that the tournament was going to be hard for me because the draw I had was really tough. I played the number two seed of the tournament from Peru in the first round. Daniel La Torre Regal is a great player player big smashes and fast attacking play. I won in a tough three set match. In the second round I was able to really push forward, using my physical game to win in three sets. However, in the second round, early in the third set, I slipped quite badly and smashed my heel. In the adrenaline of the match I felt only minor pain and pushed through it. The next morning I was barely able to walk. I did all I knew for recovery, and consulted the tournament doctor before my quarter final match. I attempted to play through. Sadly, after the first smash it was apparent I could not move without extreme pain. I played through the match to avoid the fine for withdrawing (which I found later I was misinformed about), but was unable to put up any kind of fight.

The ranking points I earned last week put me #281 in the world this week. A first time breaking 300 in world in men’s singles! It is still a long way to go to top 100, which is needed for Olympic qualification. But as God provides I will continue to play tournaments, gain ranking, and see what comes next.

Being in Manitoba has been a hard transition in some ways. Training hasn’t always gone as planned, and I have run into some obstacles. I have been focusing on improving my fitness— the 1% that I can focus on here. Both my matches ended with my fitness being a key component to finishing out the three sets. A good reminder to always improve what you can!
I am doing all I can to help my foot heal while coaching this week in Winnipeg. Next week I head to Calgary to coach for Gao Badminton while their head coach goes to Malaysia to incorporate badminton with Vacation Bible School. I am excited about these opportunities to help those following my footsteps while moving forward myself.

My next tournament is a Canadian Elite in September. This is closely followed by an international series in Mexico and one in Guatemala, and the goal has been updated to cover the costs of those two tournaments which are back to back.

Thank you everyone for your support. It would be impossible without you!
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Kevin arrived in Los Angeles, California on Sunday for the 2018 Yonex/K&D Graphics USA International Challenge. He is excited to compete again, ready to work hard and a learn in every match. In singles he has a tough draw as he meets the number two seed of the tournament, Daniel la Torre Regal from Peru, in the first round. This tournament Kevin is also playing mixed, where he and Isabelle will play a strong American pair the first round. It’s interesting to see who competes in each tournament, and this tournament has as many challenges and opportunities as expected.

In the six weeks since the Canada Open Kevin has been working, coaching, and training. His focus has been training and taking next steps to move his game ahead. Kevin has been working hard both on and off court, getting more fit and improving his shot quality. In July Kevin spent a week coaching in Spokane and since then has been investing in kids in Manitoba. He also volunteered for a week at Eagle Lake Bible camp, working in the kitchen.

Just three weeks ago, tragedy struck in Spokane when two former classmates and a friend of Kevin’s passed away in plane accident. They were doing a routine training flight when something went terribly wrong, leaving no survivors. These friends left behind spouses and children as well as rocking Moody where they were training. In the midst of tragedy there is always good, and stories of grace and community are being written during this difficult time. For Kevin, being far away during this time has been challenging. Yet he was blessed to be able to help in various ways from a distance.

Thanks for helping Kevin compete at this international tournament!
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Kevin played a great game at the Canada Open on Tuesday against Heo Kwang Hee of South Korea. Having Andrew Dabeka coach him during the match was a help as well as a learning experience. Heo took the match, but Kevin fought til the end with good strategy and focus. This tournament gained Kevin 520 ranking points, another step forward in the journey.

While in Calgary at the Canada Open Kevin was able to network with various people. He reconnected with people in the badminton Canada world-- Jordan and Joe from the national office, Paul from Yonex, and many Canadian players. He was privileged to meet Li Xeurei of China, Olympic champion in women's singles. It was also good to catch up with friends from USA, China, Philippines, Guatemala, and other places.

Kevin enjoyed the exhibition matches and coaching at Gao Badminton. It was great for him to work with Toby Ng, Olympian and good friend, the first Sunday. He also enjoyed getting to know the people at Gao Badminton a bit more. Gao is a relatively new high performance club in Calgary that is family-focused and friendly, and he hopes to return there in the future as opportunities arise.

Photo credit: Joseph Yeung
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The 2018 Canadian Open is just one week away and Kevin is ready to go and excited to earn points toward his goal! Over the past months, he has been growing momentum on this journey.

Kevin has spent many hours on court, honing his skills and finding training partners in Manitoba. He's been cycling, lifting, and running. His fitness has improved, and he's sought the best people and places to train on-court. Recently, he was invited to join Badminton Manitoba's High Performance team, giving him increased training options and support. The past few months have been about building a strong foundation for training in Manitoba.

He has also been seeking the village needed for success. A few sponsors have invested in Kevin’s journey over the past few months, for which he is incredibly thankful. Several professionals have offered timely advice to Kevin. He has also been offered some amazing opportunities to invest in the next generation and be part of the badminton community. He was privileged to coach in northern Manitoba this winter at a First Nations reserve. Sunday, Kevin will join Toby Ng to play exhibition matches with top juniors and run a clinic at Gao Badminton, a premier badminton club in Calgary, Alberta. Kevin is also looking forward to coaching a badminton summer camp in Spokane, Washington. It is exciting to see the momentum grow as the process of finding the village necessary for success plays out.

Kevin heads to Calgary for the Canadian Open June 19-24 ready to play and excited to compete. You can see the draws (and later results) of the 2018 Canada Open HERE and read Kevin's perspective at kevinbarkmanbadminton.com .

Be part of a village that INSPIRES HOPE by donating and sharing today!
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$950 of $2,940 goal

Raised by 10 people in 3 months
Created June 15, 2018
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