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Local pickleball players strike gold at Ontario 55+ Summer Games

'We wanted to make sure we were prepared to do our best, and we prevailed,' says Brian Meisner, who won mixed-doubles gold with Kathy Wolfer

The Midland Area Pickleball Club came home from the Ontario 55+ Summer Games with two gold medals and two more top-six finishes.

“Everybody did remarkably well,” said Brian Meisner, of Tiny Township.

Meisner and his pickleball partner, Kathy Wolfer, won gold in the 65-plus mixed doubles.

“It was awesome,” said Meisner. “We spend a lot of time practising and preparing. We wanted to make sure we were prepared to do our best, and we prevailed.”

The other gold-medal winners were Brant Latham and Garen Karapetian, who won the men’s doubles 65-plus contest.

Sue and Barry Dougherty placed fourth in the 55-plus mixed doubles, while Wanda and Nick Miller placed sixth in the same contest.

More than 1,400 athletes from around the province competed in 19 sports at the games held Aug. 9 to 11 in Brantford.

Simcoe County region pickleball teams qualified to compete in three of the six divisions for pickleball following the regional competition in June.

This is the first year Meisner and Wolfer have played in tournaments.

Meisner, 67, started playing pickleball when he retired about five years ago.

“It was a good fit to keep me busy, and you get addicted to it very quickly. It’s an easy game to learn, but it’s hard to master,” he said.

“For people 55-plus, it’s another great way to get everybody outside and moving around and having some fun.”

Meisner and Wolfer both came into pickleball with racquet sports experience. Meisner used to play tennis, squash and racquetball, while Wolfer was a skilled badminton player.

Normally, Meisner plays three times a week at Tiffin Park in Midland. To prepare for the provincial competition, he upped his training to five times a week.

The duo, and the other gold medallists, have qualified for nationals next August in Quebec City.

“To be able to go to the Canadian games would be icing on the cake. I never thought at my age I'd be competing at these levels,” Meisner said.

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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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