After training with coaches from Denmark in Vancouver for the first two weeks of July, Vernon’s Matt Downton went to Sudbury with Team B.C. for the 2011 Francophone Games.
These multisport games are held every three years and young people up to the age 18 compete in a variety of sports and cultural activities.
Playing in front of hundreds of other athletes from around Canada, Downtown, a 16-year-old badminton star, battled Quebec’s Shawn Huang-Gratton 21-16 in the third game of his opening series.
Downton, a 16-year-old Seaton student, then went on to the pressure-packed final to stop Quebec’s Philippe Giguere 21-18, 21-13 to win the gold medal.
It was one of two gold medals B.C. won at the games.
Downton teamed up with Kelowna’s Hayden Ostrom to win the silver medal in doubles.
“My French immersion from school really helped me as we were allowed to only speak French for the entire week,” said Downton. “It was a great opportunity to practise my French language skills with youth my own age as well as be in a competitive badminton tournament.”
Downtown’s father, Terry, is a highly respect badminton coach at Fulton.