Local badminton player aims high

Travis Fortnum

A badminton player based out of Fort St. John is making quite a name for himself in the sport. Born with only one arm, Rishav Sharma is not letting that, or anything, hold him back - in fact, since he first picked up a racquet, it's served as motivation for him.

"When I was in 9th standard," Sharma says. "I went to my school tryouts and I asked my school captain to join his team. He refused to let me join, so I went to the school principal, like he's not allowing me in the tryouts. He said, okay. so, I played twice or thrice a day, like 6 or 7 hours every day, and within 7 months I beat that captain of the team and I was the captain."
6 years later, Rishav has over 30 championships under his belt. Some back home in India, some in Fort St. John, and recently - some on the world stage, representing Canada.
"My latest international tournament was the U.S. tournament where I represented Canada," says Sharma. "I won bronze medal over there for Canada. That was a great moment."
Rishav moved to Fort St. John in 2016, after spending the first 19 years of his life in India. He came to study business at Northern Lights College - following in the footsteps of his sister, who made the move 2 years before.

"We were living together for our whole life and right now we also live together. It's easy. It's good, I don't have to worry about the food and things. She's amazing."
Growing up in India, things were a bit different than here in Northern B.C..
"Everybody is very welcoming and polite, kind," says Sharma. "They just make you feel happy always."
Rishav has made a home here. Studying, making friends, and working at the North Peace Cultural Centre.
His program wraps up next month, but he doesn't plan on going anywhere.
He's working on getting his permanent residency, and becoming a Canadian citizen. This will be a next step on the path to his ultimate goal.

"My goal is to play professionally in the Olympics and in world championships. Right now I can't play because I'm not a citizen of Canada. so, once I get my P.R. and once I get my citizenship, I can play for Canada and I will go further. I will start playing olympics and hopefully one day - I'll work hard and hopefully get the medal for Canada."

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