Dodgeball growing as competitive sport in Manitoba

It’s a sport many of us played in gym class, but one a growing number of Manitobans are playing competitively.

“I think a lot of people, when they think dodgeball, they think of high school, and it’s gone way past that. There’s strategy. There’s the competitiveness,” dodgeball player Adriana Mingo said Saturday.

Dodgeball Manitoba hosted its provincial women’s championship in Winnipeg at the Dakota Community Centre on Saturday. Manitoba’s top three women’s teams will head to nationals in April, something Mingo says wasn’t possible in the province only a few years ago.

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“The women’s side is definitely growing. We had six women’s teams this year, and there was eight men’s teams last weekend, so we just have almost as many women in the league as well,” she said.

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Six players on opposite sides of the court battle it out to be the last team standing.

Veteran Tayler Yuel was one of six Manitobans who helped Canada bring home its first mixed gold last summer.

Overall, nine athletes and four coaches from the province represented the country at the World Dodgeball Championships in Edmonton in 2022.

“We’re growing. It’s nice to see that our talent is being recognized on a national level,” Yuel said.

The 27-year-old said many people are surprised to learn the sport is so competitive.

The inclusive and welcoming community are part of what make it so appealing, she said.

“This is a sport where anyone, any age, any gender, any size can play and be good, and that’s kind of something that’s really nice. There’s a lot of sports that are very geared to specific people,” Yuel told Global News.

“Six balls, 12 people. There’s always something happening. You can really stay engaged with the game,” player Kahleigh Krochak said.

The nine-meter-wide court doesn’t leave a lot of room to dodge.

“The ball doesn’t hurt when it hits you. I feel like that’s a lot of fear that people have,” Yuel said with a laugh.

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With more than 110 registered member-athletes, Dodgeball Manitoba aims to develop elite athletes to compete at both the national and international levels, the organization said in a news release.

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