Kelowna’s Laura Schwarz (middle) and Mike Schwarz (right) were both medal winners at the 2017 Pickleball Canada National Tournament. -Image: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

Pickleball nationals a hit in Kelowna

More than 400 competitors from Canada and the U.S. take part in the 2017 tourney

Kelowna has once again lived up to its reputation as the ‘Pickleball Capital of Canada.’

North America’s fastest growing sport was showcased over the weekend in the city, with 440 competitors from across Canada and the U.S. taking part in the Pickleball Canada National Tournament.

It’s the third straight year that Pickleball Kelowna has hosted the event at the Parkinson Recreation Courts and, other than a bit of smoke in the air from wildfires, local club president Bryan Jackson said the tournament went off without a hitch.

“From what we were told, everybody had a great time,” said Jackson. “A lot of people said they’re looking forward to being here again next year. Each year we host this event, it just seems to get better.”

The 2017 tournament marked the third of a three-year commitment to Pickleball Canada by Kelowna to host the tournament. A site for next year’s event hasn’t yet been selected but Jackson indicated Pickleball Kelowna would be ready and willing if called upon again in 2018.

Either way, Jackson said the local club plans on hosting a major summer tournament every year going forward.

This year’s event featured competitors from across Canada and 16 U.S. states, ranging in age from 14 to 80.

Already one of North America’s most popular sports, as many as eight million people are expected to be active in pickleball in 2018.

Pickleball Kelowna now has more than 400 registered players, with club members commuting from as far away as Penticton and Vernon.

Medal winners at the national tournament from Pickleball Kelowna were:

• Men’s Doubles Sr. Open 50+: Mike Schwarz, gold

• Men’s Doubles 4.0: Dale Charlton and Ross Nunweiler, bronze

• Men’s Singles 4.5 : Dale Parslow, bronze

• Mixed Doubles 4.0 : Lana Nunweiler and Ross Nunweiler, silver

• Women’s Doubles 3.0: Bronagh O’Hagan, bronze

• Women’s Doubles 4.0: JJ Jackson and Lorena McClure, silver

• Women’s Doubles 4.5 : Jayna Mikuse, silver

• Women’s Singles Open: Laura Schwarz, bronze

• Women’s Singles 4.0: Chantal Plamondon, gold; Jayne Hackman, bronze

For more information on Pickleball Kelowna, go to pickleballkelowna.com