For the first time ever, a girls singles medal from the SHSAA badminton provincial championship is going to a Moose Jaw athlete.
Cornerstone grade 11 athlete Rung Kaophuthai won the bronze medal at the badminton provincials on Saturday in Wilkie, posting a 3-2 record overall.
"I'm very happy," said Kaophuthai, who is an exchange student from Thailand.
Kaophuthai put together an incredible season on the badminton court as she won the Moose Jaw Invitational title, city championship, South Central district championship and regional championship.
She went 2-1 in the round robin at provincials to secure a spot in the medal round. In the semifinal, Kaophuthai dropped a three-set battle (14-21, 21-17, 21-17) to Saskatoon Bowman's Lorena Yeung.
Coming off the loss, Kaophuthai was able to bounce back quickly and win the bronze medal match in three sets (21-15, 20-22, 21-12) over Debden's Carmyn Amundson to walk away with the medal.
In the semifinal match, Kaophuthai said that she hurt her knee, which prevented her from being at her best in that match.
"My body was saying give up, but at the same time, my brain is always thinking about, I come here and practice so hard and I want something back," she said.
"I have only one chance because I'm an exchange student and it was one of the important things in my life, so I really wanted to win."
Melville's Clarizze Perpetua won the gold medal, beating Yeung in two sets (21-12, 21-16) in the final.
Badminton was a sport that Kaophuthai was very familiar with before coming over to Canada and she said she was very happy that she had the chance to compete in the sport during her time here.
"At first I didn't think that they would play badminton here because its a small town, so I thought maybe they wouldn't have a badminton season, but it did happen and I'm very sad that I didn't bring my own racket," said Kaophuthai.
Kaophuthai is in Month 8 of her 10-month stay here in Moose Jaw and she said that she's really enjoyed her experience of living in the Friendly City.
"It's very different from my city because Bangkok is very, very busy city, but here for me I have a lot of time to spend studying," she said.
"I will take my medal back and my family back in Thailand is very happy because I wasn't sure if I could do this, but I'm happy I did."
The Central team of Liam Kerr and Carter Voth also competed at provincials over the weekend and just missed out on the medal round with a 1-2 record in pool play.