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Generally it pays to be a jack-of-all-racquets however a grasp of none.
Members of the Winnipeg Winter Membership realized this firsthand on Dec. 18, when the membership held its first-ever occasion in racketlon — a fledgling sport that mixes 4 racquet sports activities into one match.
Gamers use progressively greater racquets because the matches progress, beginning off on the ping-pong desk (all sports activities are performed as much as 21 factors) earlier than shifting to the badminton courtroom and persevering with with squash and at last tennis.
The game wasn’t on anybody’s radar on the Winter Membership till a couple of yr in the past, when member Evan Mancer heard about it from his spouse.
Mancer, 38, a previous nationwide champion in squash who has been ranked as excessive as thirteenth in Canada in tennis, already had half the disciplines down pat. The problem can be — and nonetheless is — bettering with the desk tennis paddle and the badminton racquet.
With little concept what he was getting himself into, Mancer entered an occasion in Montreal in June, and located himself dealing with the top-ranked participant on this planet, Austria’s Christoff Krenn, within the quarter-finals.
“He gained the desk tennis and the badminton handily,” mentioned Mancer, a Tuxedo resident. “However I gained the squash 21-1, and tennis, which was his finest sport and my second-best, he gained by eight.”
That displaying prompted Racketlon Canada to ask Mancer to the world championships in Vienna in September, the place he completed in fifth within the elite males’s subject.
Now Mancer is working laborious on his badminton expertise, hoping to shut the hole and steal a couple of extra factors towards the higher gamers in that sport.
“It’s important to have some humility (in racketlon),” he mentioned. “Even when you win a match handily, throughout one of many particular person matches there’s an opportunity you’ll get crushed fairly simply.”
One of many more durable challenges of the game is with the ability to transition to a distinct sport, with its personal distinctive racquet and strokes, as rapidly as doable.
“It may well take a while to search out your rhythm,” mentioned Mancer, who added that the opposite key to success is figuring out your opponent.
For Mancer, whose finest sport is squash, it may be a disappointment to “solely” win that contest 21-7.
“The higher participant has to play cautiously and never hand over free factors,” he mentioned. “The strain is on the higher participant to be cruel.”
Maybe probably the most enticing factor about racketlon for a participant like Mancer is the truth that he can discover good competitors regionally in all of the disciplines. Not like a world-class badminton or desk tennis participant in Winnipeg needing to journey lengthy and much to search out coaching companions who’re at his stage, Mancer can combine and match with every sport.
In 2011, Mancer is planning to play within the crew world championships for Canada in Milan in Could, and to return to Vienna later within the yr for the singles world championship.
Nearer to residence, the hybrid sport is giving Winter Membership members an excuse to get out of their traditional routines.
“Persons are taking classes in different sports activities and enjoying completely different sports activities,” mentioned Trevor Borland, the membership’s squash professional. “Our ping-pong tables have positively been used extra recently.”