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Kevin Barkman, Hope Through Sports

$1,685 of $16,560 goal

Raised by 20 people in 9 months
Created June 15, 2018
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!
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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Saskatoon and the (un)fortunate events that followed.
Update from Kevin.
Saskatoon was my first tournament of the year traveling with Team Manitoba. I was most senior of all the athletes this time- a new generation is coming up! Some of these athletes were ones I coached in the past. It was great to interact with the team and build team spirit. Manitoba came away with one silver medal and lots of tough matches.  
After winning my first two games in Saskatoon at the Prairie Elite, I slipped and fell, injuring my ankle quite severely.  The doctors on site suspected that I had broken it. The nurses who looked at my ankle at the hospital also assumed the same. X-Rays confirmed that it was /not/ broken and instead was just a severe high ankle sprain. However, new bone scans two weeks later show that it is fractured in two places. I am currently unable to work and stuck in a boot and on crutches. However, this has let me get some other things in order as I’m catching up on communication, creating a stronger training plan, and researching best practices to continue the journey.
This injury has also made some tournament decisions very easy. I will not be playing the Alberta Elite, or the Santo Domingo International, or the Herb Richard in Manitoba. Instead, I will be focusing on rehabbing my ankle and working on getting my shoulder and left foot in top condition after their last injuries as well. I am also continuing to coach as much as I can while on crutches and helping those athletes who are still able to compete.
There are other unexpected blessings of this injury. One is sharing meals with local friends who I don’t get to see very often due to the busyness of my normal schedule. Another blessing is a connection with a local physical therapist, Dr. David Blatz. He works with Canada’s top athletes and is helping me get my ankle back in shape. I am thankful for his expertise as well as his encouragement on this journey.
Thank you everyone for your support! I look forward to getting back on court stronger and more determined than ever!
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IX MEXICAN INTERNATIONAL SERIES

This has been a great week for Kevin in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He won his first match against Alonso Medel from Chile, currently ranked 238 in the world. Challenges included getting in sync with fast shuttlecocks and some venue challenges. Kevin was able to adjust and win the match in three sets. It was a great opportunity to focus and stick with his game plan. Despite losing the first game, he overcome the odds to win.

Kevin’s tournament ended in round of 16 when he played Arturo Silva Pomocelo, the 5/8 seed from Brazil. Pomocelo is currently ranked #142 in the world and played up to his ranking while Kevin fought to adjust to multiple changes in type and speed of shuttlecocks. It’s been a very profitable tournament, and he retained his 920 points for making round of 16 in the Mexican International! (If he hadn't competed this week, his ranking would have fallen to about 320)

Reconnecting with players from across Latin America and around the world, high-level sparring, coaching an Indian friend, practicing Spanish, eating tacos, and helping fellow Canadians navigate Mexico have all been bonuses Kevin has enjoyed this week. These opportunities to compete are truly a privilege and are moving him forward as he improves his games and raises his world ranking.

Kevin leaves for Guatemala on Sunday where he will compete in another international series tournament. He is excited to face new challenges, to put what he’s learned to use on court, and to continue to learn as he competes. He also has a renewed focus on gaining cardio fitness, a key component of his style of play.
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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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$1,685 of $16,560 goal

Raised by 20 people in 9 months
Created June 15, 2018
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