The Penticton Pickleball for Mental Health tournament was not only a smashing success in raising more than $30,000, it also brought more than 170 pickleball athletes of all ages from as far as Squamish and Vancouver Island to the Okanagan.
A father and his 14-year-old son came all the way from Fort St. John to participate in the tournament. They played against an 82-year-old and his partner in the same division.
A pair from Kamloops in their late 30s took gold in the men’s doubles event. This was their first year playing pickleball and said they loved the tournament and would be back.
The number of spectators was impressive too, with bleachers filled to watch the excitement unfold from Friday to Sunday at the courts at the Seniors Drop-In Centre.
The Penticton Pickleball Club members were the referees and organized the tournament schedule.
“We just couldn’t be more pleased with how this tournament turned out. We have more sponsors this year, more players, 170 in total came out from all over British Columbia,” said Leah Schulting, executive director of the South Okanagan Canadian Mental Health Association.
South Okanagan Counselling was also there with a booth on the weekend.
The tournament featured men’s doubles, mixed doubles, and ladies’ doubles. Winners of gold, silver and bronze took the podium for the medals.
“It’s just been a really good weekend, with great support from the community, Penticton Pickleball Club, and the many sponsors,” said Schulting.
This is the second year the local CHMA branch has held this tournament but definitely not the last, she continued.
Vig Matthew and Chris Cassis came from Kamloops to play and won men’s doubles.
This is their first year playing pickleball.
“I came off an injury and I saw all these old people playing pickleball, so I thought it will be an easy sport to play. Day One I showed up and got my butt kicked and from then on I was addicted,” said Matthew while standing on the podium.