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Pickleballers eye Kingston, Ont. as potential host for upcoming 2024 regionals

Kingston, Ont., could once more be host to the regional pickleball championship tournament in 2024, as city council sets out to decide on the event’s fate in a council meeting Tuesday evening.

This comes after Pickleball Canada said the original host, Quebec City, declined, leaving more than 400 athletes in need of a space to air out their competitive spell. In a report set to be brought to council on Tuesday, the organization’s local branch in Kingston said a potential bid to host the competition would require the use of the Bayridge Outdoor Racquet Courts.

If council votes in favour of bringing the competition back to the Limestone City, it will have to enter into an agreement with the Kingston Pickleball Club for the organization to use the outdoor courts. The report being tabled outlines that council would be required to change a policy allowing for public courts to be used specifically for the tournament in June.

David Bussiere, pickleball director at the Kingston Racquet Centre, said having the tournament would be a good way to bring attention to the sport.

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“Kingston’s sort of the epicentre for Pickleball… there’s only a few paces in Canada where people know that pickleball just happens — (that) there’s a huge community of players,” he said, adding that it would continue to promote healthy activities.

Kingston was the host of the tournament last year. The Kingston Pickleball Club said in an email on Tuesday that no comment can be provided until the organization says the motion is approved by council.

For Stefan Szrajer, a pickleball player, coming down to the racquet centre’s dome set aside only for the sport is a fun excuse to stretch out his legs. He said he comes down to play every Monday and has been doing so for the last few years.

“Well, it’s the exercise… and the camaraderie,” he said. “You make friends here and you meet here once a week. It’s just a good reason to go out and get exercise, (along with) competitive fun.”

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