Hildebrand wins national pickleball gold

Judi Reid and Peter Hildebrand won gold in 65+ mixed pickleball in Saint John, New Brunswick.

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Southern Manitoba brought back gold from the national 55+ Games.
Peter Hildebrand of Morden won gold in the 65+ Mixed pickleball category in Saint John, New Brunswick.
It was a category he never expected to be playing in, let alone winning gold.
Hildebrand explained he was entered in the mens category with a partner, but they didn’t win.
“We really weren’t supposed to be playing mixed,” he explained.
However two women were without partners thanks to injury, and asked Hildebrand and his partner to match up.
“We were quite fortunate to have played, let alone win a gold medal,” he said.
Hildebrand’s partner was Judi Reid from the Gimli area.
The competition was fierce, but Hildebrand said it was much the same as he’s used to in this area. “I think there are players in Winkler and Morden who are just as good or better than the competition there,” he said.
Hildebrand and his partner boasted a 9-1 record, and found themselves in the finals, playing the only team that had beat them.
“They beat us 11-1 (in roud robin play),” Hildebrand said. “When we met them in the finals, psychologically you think you’re beat before you even start.”
Hildebrand and Reid won the first game 11-9 and lost the second game 11-6. In the final they had a comfortable 8-2 lead. “Then they tied it 8-8,” he said. “We did win 11-9 in the final game.”
Hildebrand said the experience in the finals is one he’ll remember.
“It was so intense and we had about 50-60 people watching us,” he said. “It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.”
Hildebrand has been involved in Pickleball for about two years and said it’s something he’ll continue playing.
“It is the fastest growing sport in North America,” he said. “It’s competitive, it’s exciting, it’s invigorating, it’s a fast sport.”
Hildebrand was part of Team Manitoba who sent 88 athletes to the games.