ACAC Hall of Fame Inductee: Keith and Karyn Kadonaga

ACAC Hall of Fame Inductee:  Keith and Karyn Kadonaga

The Kadonaga brother-sister combo is something special.

They hold the distinction of being the only athletes to be named SAIT Trojans Male and Female ‘Athletes of the Year’ in consecutive years, in this case 1993-1994 and 1994-1995.

They were also back-to-back Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC)All Conference and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) All-Canadian selections in 1993-1994 and 1994-1995, while combining talents to win two ACAC and CCAA badminton mixed doubles gold medals. They now become the first male and female tandem to be inducted together into the ACAC Hall of Fame in the Athlete Category.

Keith’s first post-secondary experience as a student/athlete, was with the Mount Royal Cougars (1991-1993) where he garnered ACAC All Conference status in 1992-1993 going on to claim silver at the nationals in men’s singles. For the 1993-1995 academic years Keith transferred to SAIT, where his sister had also enrolled.

“We were looking at different educational opportunities and we both found programs that we liked at SAIT,”recalls Keith, 45. “It was a really good experience because when we were competing in juniors, we never played together as we were different ages. It was nice to now compete together. Her skill set and level of play gave me confidence to compete… knowing that you have a partner that is able to compete at a high level. It was comforting.”

Enrolled “to focus on the Dietary Technology program”, Karyn, who now resides in Vernon, British Columbia, said of her time at SAIT, “The ability to do your sport as well as to go to school was fantastic. The support we received was great and to be acknowledged (Athlete of the Year) amongst all of the athletes and teams that were there was incredible. To stop and acknowledge badminton was appreciated.”

Their first CCAA Badminton Nationals gold medal in in 1993-1994 was earned by defeating Vancouver Community College’s Dhana Khan and Scott Young 15-6 and 15-8 in the finals held in Truro, Nova Scotia. For the 1994-1995 CCAA Nationals in Shawinigan, Quebec, the pair would again meet up again with Khan and Scott,and emerge victorious by a score of 15-9, 18-13.

Prior to arriving together at SAIT, the Kadonaga’s had already established a reputation for excellence. Aside from his 92-93 CCAA individual silver medal, Keith was also a member of a boys’ doubles team that won the 1987 Badminton Canada Juvenile National Championship.

Karen’s sparkling badminton resume included membership on a women’s doubles tandem that won bronze at the 1992 World University Games — the only badminton medal ever won by Canada at this quadrennial event!Karyn was also a member of consecutive (1988, 1989) Badminton Canada National Championship junior girls’doubles titles, she captured the 1986 Badminton Canada National juvenile girls’ singles and girls’ doubles titles and in 1985 earned the Badminton Canada National Championship juvenile mixed doubles title.

About their selection to the ACAC Hall of Fame, Keith replied: “Shocked and surprised. It has been over 20 years now and we really haven’t thought much about it. Badminton is not one of the sports you would think to be recognized. There have been some amazing athletes from other sports that have also gone through and for us to be chosen is special and surprising.” Karyn echoed her amazement of being honoured: “It surprised me. It has been a long, long time since I had been at SAIT and it made me feel proud.