West Dummerston Village resident Gurudharm Khalsa plays pickleball during the National Senior Games in Florida on Saturday.

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Gurudharm Singh Khalsa of West Dummerston Village claimed the singles gold medal at the National Senior Games Association yearly pickleball tournament on Saturday. A rookie to the national stage, Khalsa went undefeated in his 70-74 age bracket pool of 26 players.

Khalsa represented his home state of Vermont. Prior to winning the national championship, the lanky man who proudly wears a turban to profess his Sikh faith, won the Vermont and Connecticut championships, respectively to qualify.

“It is an honor to represent the Green Mountain State in the National Senior Games,” Khalsa said. “We are a small state with a brave heart.”

He took down a Louisiana native in the title game after his opponent had battled through the consolation bracket in the double elimination tourney. The day prior, he took down the would-be third place singles finisher in doubles who hailed from North Carolina. The Games were open to all who qualified across the nation.

Khalsa said he plays pickleball for the joy of life. He spends hours practicing each day and plays most of his games in Vermont and New Hampshire. The National Senior Games were played indoors at a large convention hall, but the fierce yet poised champ adjusted quickly.

He is proud to represent the little-known state, especially for athletic prowess and without year-round facilities. Khalsa is also known to dominate Ping-Pong amongst his neighbors and played varsity tennis in high school.

“I am elated to be the national champion from the state of Vermont and I am grateful for all the friendly competition in New England,” Khalsa said prior to boarding a flight back to the region with the medal around his neck.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or 802-254-2311 X163. On Twitter: @ShaneCovey.