New Canadian men’s doubles duo make debut at Canada Para Badminton International

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 16, 2023

Lapointe and Bilenki finding chemistry in new partnership


OTTAWA – Bernard Lapointe and Mikhail Bilenki made their men’s wheelchair doubles debut at the Canada Para Badminton International being held this week at the University of Ottawa as they march towards a hopeful qualification for the Parapan Am Games in November.

A presence in Santiago would be a major victory.

Lapointe, 38, has been battling shoulder problems and underwent surgery missing the entire 2022 season.

‘’I just started back in January,’’ said the St-Léonard, N.B. resident. ‘’It’s a brand new shoulder so it feels 100 percent. I like it. The mechanics were pretty good.’’

The Russian-born Bilenki became paralyzed due to illness at age 24 and moved to Canada in 1998 after living 10 years in other parts of Europe. The Vancouver resident was late to Para sport as he worked hard to establish a professional career.

He is a staff scientist with the B.C. Cancer Agency.

‘’I started Para badminton in 2017 but then COVID came along and that interrupted my development,” said Bilenki, a very fit 61-year-old who was an avid skier and rock climber before his illness. ‘’It was actually Bernard who introduced me to badminton when we were both in wheelchair tennis. I just fell in love with it.’’

So far at this week’s tournament, the pair have lost their two first matches.

‘’It was tough, these guys are serving very well,’’ said Lapointe, injured in an ATV accident almost 10 years ago permanently injuring one leg. ‘’We were a little bit late all the time, when you’re on the ropes you’re always trying to figure how to get out. But we showed some fight and we’re still learning to play together.’’

One of the challenges for both players is they are located at each end of the country which makes competitive and training opportunities less frequent than desired.

‘’The more we play with each other, the better we get,” said Lapointe. ‘’But we are so far apart that funding can be a challenge. It’s hard because we watch these other teams and we see what our potential can be.’’

Lapointe previously played with Richard Peter, with whom he won a bronze medal at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games, while Bilenki’s focus has been primarily on singles.

‘’I don’t play much doubles because I don’t have a regular partner in Vancouver,” he said. ‘’So this is a chance for us to know each other’s game and understand how to get the chemistry going.’’

Yuka Chokyu of Vancouver has been Canada’s most successful player so far at the tournament with victories in her first two women’s singles matches. Chokyu, a silver medallist at the 2019 Parapan Am Games, is also playing mixed doubles with Bilenki.

The tournament concludes on Sunday. 

For results visit here.  Watch matches here at

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