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Kevin Barkman, Hope Through Sports

$4,240 of $16,560 goal

Raised by 31 people in 11 months
Created June 15, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Kevin Barkman
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!
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Hi Everyone! Kevin Here.
I am writing to say thanks for investing in my badminton journey and success. The past 6 weeks have been a time of good forward motion and growing returns. Thanks for investing-- here's what I've been doing!

Brazil! 
I spent three weeks in Calgary training and coaching at Gao Badminton in April. They have graciously sponsored all my training which has been a huge blessing. To prepare for Brazil International Challenge I trained both with the group and many private lessons from Grace Gao, a former Olympian. From Calgary I flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil and got a ride to Campinas where the Brazil International Challenge was held. 
I got there on Tuesday morning, checked into the hotel and went to practice. I stayed with Kari Gunnarsson from Iceland as well as B.R. Sankeerth from Canada. We practiced together Tuesday and Wednesday morning before I played my first match Wednesday evening at 5:30. I lost the first set but won the next two, progressing to the next round. I played the second round half an hour later and ended up losing in a hard-fought, two set game. I battled some calf cramps but other than that played well. That Friday I flew back to Calgary, picked up my car and drove to Manitoba! 

Manitoba Provincial Championships
At the Manitoba Provincial Championships I . I played all three events. Mens singles, Mens doubles with Ryan Giesbrecht, and Mixed doubles with Melanie Cure. I made the Mens singles final, but lost to Thien Vo. I won my doubles final with Ryan Giesbrecht, also against Thien and his partner Chris White. In mixed, we lost in the quarter finals to the eventual finalists.  

The Mens singles final was a great match, and one where I felt I played to my full current potential. 

I am improving my game at a great rate, for which I am very thankful. Coming back from the injury has been hard, but it has also helped me refocus and I believe I will be stronger than before. 

Last week I also finished my fitness testing and body composition with Sweaty Training. I have made good progress since the injury. We are looking at increasing the rate of progress now that my ankle is healing up more. I also got a new off court program with this in mind, which I am very excited about. 

Thank you all for your support! 

Gratefully, 
Kevin Barkman
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The life of a coach is nomadic, and the life of an athlete is more so. I have been traveling a lot since I returned from Jamaica mid March. In fact I was home less than twelve hours after landing from Jamaica before heading up to northern Manitoba to OCN. The next weekend I was in Thunder Bay playing a fun tournament and making contacts for future clinics and coaching. From there I went to Minneapolis to play a tournament. I did okay there making semis in both singles and doubles and winning the mixed consol. Two days later I was on the road to Calgary, where I am now.
Minneapolis came quickly on the heels of the other trips. It ended up being a great tournament and I got to test my on court training and fitness. The training with Sweaty Training really showed as I was able to compete in three events without crashing. However, I made a lot of mistakes and struggled with some of the shots that are my bread and butter. This makes me even happier to be working these days with Gao Badminton in Calgary on my on court game.
I am excited to be working on the on-court part of my game with Coach Gao as well as helping coach the team. The opportunity to train and coach is huge. Gao Badminton has been generous in their support of me which I am very grateful for.
I am continuing to work with Jeff at Sweaty Training to improve my fitness and strength. There is always a gym nearby and always work to be done!
Brazil International Challenge is coming up the first week in May and I am hoping to be playing my best by then. The draw is tough this year and I am only in the qualifying draw this time.
Thank you everyone for your continued support!
Onward and Upward!
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Hi Everyone!
The Jamaica International came to an early end for me. I knew I was up against a tough opponent ranked much, much higher than me. Being my first international tournament after my injury I was not too sure what to expect. The weather there was about 30C outside with 80-90% humidity, and much higher temperatures inside the gym. During practice this felt very hot and I could feel myself dragging a bit towards the end of practices.
The first set of competition went quite well. I felt I moved quite well, attacked well, followed my game plan. However, by the second set the heat was paying its toll on me. I felt light-headed and my head began to pound. I knew I was overheating but tried to play through it. I couldn’t, and fell very flat the second set.
You have a lot of emotions after a match like that. I wanted to test myself after my injury, and I did that. I performed well the first set, staying focused and sticking to my game plan. But it is a great disappointment to fall so flat at the end. Rewatching the video confirms that the second set I made 21 mistakes and struggled to breathe. My face was red and I felt heat radiating off me.
I still had juice in my legs, but no way to access it. How do I manage the extreme heat when most of my training in winter is in gyms at 16C? That is the next question to be answered.
I stayed with a good friend Milan in a university dorm at the University of the West Indies. That was a unique experience. We stayed on the same level with the Peru and Guatemala teams which was also fantastic. Over the past few tournaments I have made friends with both teams. I also made new friends with two athletes from Congo which was exciting.
I am back home to Manitoba now after spending last weekend at the OCN Native Reserve, coaching with a multi-sport team. I am excited to get back to training and coaching and moving ahead!
 
Onward and upward!
-Kevin
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Hi Everyone!
Here is a quick update about the National Championships!
This year heading into Nationals I had very few expectations. Dealing with a fractured ankle and torn ligaments I went into competition hoping to not get re-injured. I knew that my hopes of winning were, at this point, unfounded due to my inability to train as I needed to, as well as some limitations from my ankle. I couldn’t push off properly in defense, or in my late forehand corner. Still, I felt I should go to Nationals. It is a time when the whole Canadian badminton community gathers. It is more than just a competition, it is also a time for friends to reunite, awards to be given, and  meetings to be had. I ended up going to Calgary a week early and training at Gao Badminton and coaching their team. It was great to invest in the kids, spar, share what I know, and spend a lot of time at the court with the kids. 

In the competition I was pleasantly surprised by how well I played. I won my first match in a three set, fifty-three minute game. Despite not being able to move as well as I would like I was able to play tactically well and play some higher quality shots to win. I was reminded how much I love competing. I love the atmosphere and the way that competition brings out different sides of people. It is a unique opportunity to treat everyone with respect, including yourself.

The second match I played against Joseph Rogers, a very skilled and experienced athlete. I was able to play decently well, but in the end he was able to capitalize on my injury. He used his experience and power to really push me into spots that were tough with my ankle. It was tough to lose the match, however I am happy with my ability to compete with the best in the country so soon after my injury. There are more competitions coming up, and I am always looking ahead. 

Injuries are brutal. It is hard to struggle with confidence as I get back on court knowing I haven’t been able to train as much as would be ideal. It is tough to try to work within the confines of rehab and still try to improve. However, being injured has shown me just how many people I have supporting me. Both in the world of athletics, as well as people helping out emotionally, spiritually, and having my back on those tough days. I have had a lot of very professional  help coming off of fracturing my ankle. Eastman Therapy has been a huge blessing getting me back on the court, and Sweaty Training has done an amazing job getting me back in shape. I still have a long ways to go, and I am so thankful to work with professional and experienced people.  It has been great to coach and train at Gao Badminton Tao, they have really treated me like family and been considerate of my injury and helping me get court fit again.  Overall I am extremely thankful for each and every person who has my back. Being injured really highlighted all the support I have. I am excited to come back stronger, and continue to share my love of the sport with the next generation. 

Thank you! 
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$4,240 of $16,560 goal

Raised by 31 people in 11 months
Created June 15, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Kevin Barkman
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