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Charmaine Reid and Nicole GretherPlayers to be guests at inaugural WNC Open tournament.

The Macon County Senior Games will be hosting the Western North Carolina Open, the first U.S.A. Badminton Association sanctioned badminton tournament in the area, on June 22 and 23 at Mountain View Intermediate School.

“This is the Macon Senior Games first badminton tournament where we are really trying to entice the younger, exciting players to come play in the mountains,” said Mary Ann Ingram, with the Macon County Senior Games. “The proceeds are going to Senior Games and the Mountain View Intermediate School to add badminton to their physical education curriculum.”

When a tournament is “sanctioned,” all participants must be members of the U.S.A. Badminton Association, which is in charge of ranking players for the national Team U.S.A. for international play and the Olympics. The tournament will feature two internationally recognized Canadian badminton players.

“We have two players coming from Calgary, Canada, who are internationally ranked 16th in the world,” said Ingram. “Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether will be in Macon County for the weekend to play in the tournament. “We invite the public to come and see a high level of play and participate in a [free] badminton instructional workshop on Friday, June 22, from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. and return to watch the matches starting at 5.”

According to Ingram, the Senior Games wanted to host the WNC Open to entice a younger generation to become more physically active.

Since 1992, badminton has been an Olympic sport with five events: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles, in which each pair consists of a man and a woman. Badminton is the only Olympic sport that women and men play against each other on the court at the same time.

Nicole GretherAs the second largest participated sport in the world following closely behind soccer, badminton is the fastest racquet sport and is played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents' half of the court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. A rally ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor.

Reid and Grether are doubles partners, and compete together in tournaments around the world. Both women have represented Canada and have competed in the Olympics.

Reid, 38 from Fort Erie, Ontario, was a member of the Canadian National Badminton Team from 1995-2004, and won a Gold medal at the Pan-American Games in 2003. Reid has won five Canadian National Championships and is currently ranked #1 in both singles and doubles play in North America and #31 and #13 in singles and doubles play respectively in the world ranking.

Grether, who lives in Berlin, was born in Schopfheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany. Grether competed in the Olympics in 2000 and 2004, and has competed in more than a dozen European and World badminton championships. Although she has been representing Canada since 2011, she currently hold the record at 106 for team matches for Germany. She is currently ranked #31 in the world (with Charmaine Reid) in women's doubles and is ranked #50 in women's singles. Grether holds 27 National Titles and medaled 86 times at international tournaments (37x gold, 17x silver, 32x bronze).

Deadline to register to compete in the WNC open is Friday, June 15. First, second, and third place medals will be awarded following the final match.

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