Israel – BC’s 16-year-old Renata Gabuzyan was selected to compete for Team Canada earlier this month at the 20th Maccabiah Games. With 10,000 athletes across many sports, the Games are the third largest sporting event in the world. Gabuzyan was the only athlete in the sport of tennis to make the podium on Team Canada. We caught up with Renata about her life-changing experience below:
When did you start playing tennis and how did you get into it?
I started playing tennis when I was 7 years old, but competitively when I was 9. My dad got me into tennis from a young age because of his long history in the sport, continuing it even until now being a High Performance Tennis Coach.
How did you get selected or qualify for the 2017 Maccabiah Games?
I was selected to take part in this amazing event based on my ranking, tournament history, as well as, try-outs in Toronto.
What events did you compete in?
I competed in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
Did you know any of your team mates or coaches before going?
When being selected I didn’t know any of my teammates being the only representative from BC.
How was it different or the same from a regular tennis tournament? Was it more of a team environment or similar to a regular singles/doubles tennis event?
It was a completely new experience for me, it was definitely way different than any tournament I’ve ever been in. Everything was done as a team, everyone was included in everything and everyone supported each other representing Team Canada extremely well.
Looking back, what was the most memorable moment for you, on or off the court?
The most memorable part was for sure the opening ceremony, walking through the stage with all eyes on you representing your country was pretty crazy and I will never forget that feeling, as well as, being the only person from the Canadian tennis team to place and earn a bronze medal in doubles.
What was your favourite part about the experience?
On court my best memory was all the cheering and Canadian flags waving and the amount of support from my whole team made it that much better. Honestly, the whole trip was unbelievable and every moment was worth it and I wish for everyone to be able to experience something like that because it will for sure change your life in a positive way, as well as, make memories that will last a lifetime.
Do you have any advice for athletes hoping to qualify for the Maccabiah Games in the future?
Train hard and believe in yourself!
Learn more about the Maccabiah Games