BY JOHN DECOSTE
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Matt Whitford of Kentville’s Evangeline Trail Amateur Boxing Club came home with gold from the Canada Winter Games.
Whitford, 16, a two-time national champion, outpointed Brandon Cardinal of Alberta 10-9 in the final of the 91kg division February 25 in front of a noisy, partisan crowd of 5,500 at the Halifax Forum. Whitford led 3-1 after two rounds, only to see Cardinal battle back to tie. A countback by the judges gave the decision to the Nova Scotia boxer.
Whitford, who received a bye into the second round of the competition, advanced to the final with a 17-4 win over Richard Horth of Quebec.
Whitford’s gold medal was one of four medals won by Nova Scotia boxers on the final evening of the boxing competition. Cyrus Taylor of Middleton settled for silver following an 8-5 loss to Ontario’s Luis Valdivia in the 69kg division. Taylor had advanced to the final with a 15-14 win on points over PEI’s Luke Holland. Jason Downey of North Preston won Nova Scotia’s other gold medal and Taylor Gordon of Beaver Bank captured a second silver.
ETABC head coach (and former Canadian Olympian) Bryan Gibson of Kentville was part of the boxing competition as a referee and a judge.
Whitford’s medal was the highlight of a busy second week of the Games for Kings County athletes.
In archery, Nicole Poirier of Coldbrook placed seventh in the qualifying round in women’s recurve. After defeating Shelly Inkster of the Yukon 96-24 in an elimination match, Poirier lost 107-71 in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medalist Virginia Chenier from Quebec.
In badminton, Tineke Vanderweit of Port Williams finished tied for 17th in women’s singles, losing 21-15, 21-14 to Bethany So of Ontario.
In women’s doubles, Vanderweit and Cynthia Charlton of Lower Sackville defeated Nunavut 21-7, 21-9, then lost to B.C. 21-15, 21-11.
Claire MacDougall of Centreville and Heather Murray of Annapolis Royal lost to Alberta 21-12, 21-18.
In men’s doubles, Justin Barkhouse of Hantsport and his partner, Nigel Power, lost 21-11, 21-10 to Quebec and finished tied for ninth.
In mixed doubles, MacDougall and Spencer Armsworthy defeated New Brunswick 21-13, 19-21, 21-13, then lost to Alberta 21-15, 21-14 and ended up tied for ninth. Barkhouse and Murray lost 21-10-21-16 to Ontario and finished tied for 17th.
In the team competition, Nova Scotia finished sixth overall, with all the Valley players contributing to the team effort.
In judo, Jessica Hale of New Minas lost both her matches, 10-0 to Krista Roots of B.C. and 10-0 to Makrenna Sterdan of Ontario, and ended up tied for fifth place.
In snowboarding, Josh Drapeau of Kingston was sixth overall (second in the “small final”) in snowboard cross, and placed 17th in the qualification round in parallel giant slalom.
Ben Horlings of Wolfville was 11th in the final standings in men’s halfpipe, and Charlotte Butcher of Port Williams was 11th in women’s halfpipe.
Snowboard was also one of the more successful events overall for Nova Scotia and for Valley athletes. Jeremy Page of Falmouth won a silver medal in men’s halfpipe, and was eighth in men’s snowboardcross. Dallas Rourke of Falmouth won a silver medal in women’s halfpipe, and was fifth (first in the “small final”) in women’s snowboardcross.