Grech Licari steals the show

Friday, November 15, 2013, 13:24

Badminton Malta – Junior National Championships 2013

 

The Junior National Championships came to a close this weekend after an intense competition spread over 8 days. This year, a record number of 60 participants competed for the most prestigious local badminton event for juniors.

For the first time ever, Badminton Malta has successfully introduced the Boy’s and Girl’s Singles Under 11 category, which were won by Jordan Abela and Sarah Azzopardi respectively. Isaac Axisa and Lauren Azzopardi claimed the runner-up berth.

The Under 13s featured four categories, the Boy’s Singles and Doubles, and the Girl’s Singles and Doubles. Matthew Galea was crowned U13 Boy’s Singles champion for the first time after he defeated Mark Abela in 2 close sets, 29-27 21-17. The latter made amends in the Boy’s Doubles after he and Samuel Cassar placed first in their group, ahead of runners up Benjamin and Jordan Abela. The Girl’s category was dominated by Sarah Fava who claimed both the Girl’s Singles and Girl’s Doubles. In the Girl’s Singles Sarah defeated Cheryl Gilford in two straight sets, 21-7 21-14. They then teamed up in the Girl’s Doubles and defeated finalists Yanika Polidano and Rebecca Spiteri, 21-11 21-11.

Both the Under 16s and Under 19s comprised the traditional five categories; Boy’s Singles and Doubles, Girl’s Singles and Doubles, as well as the Mixed Doubles. Following his international experience, Kyle Sciberras confirmed his good form by claiming the U19 Boy’s Singles title after defeating Matthew Abela in an intense 3 sets, 18-21 21-19 21-17. The two players were also the finalists in the U16 Boy’s Singles. This time, Matthew had the better of his opponent to bag his first U16 Boy’s Singles title, 21-12 21-19.

Kyle Sciberras and Nigel Degaetano successfully defended their U16 Boy’s Doubles title. The two had the better of brothers Matthew and Mark Abela in yet another close final, 21-16 21-17. Kyle and Nigel had to settle for the runner-up position in the U19 Boy’s Doubles, as they lost their direct encounter against Owen Grech and Matthew Abela in two straight sets, 21-15 21-14.

Owen and Matthew shared the limelight with Jacqueline Grech Licari in the U16 and U19 Mixed Doubles. Owen and Jacqueline had the better of Matthew Abela and Maria Angela Gambin in the U19 Mixed Doubles. After a tight first set (22-20), the former pair easily won the second (21-9) to claim the title.

In the U16 Mixed Doubles Jacqueline teamed up with Matthew Abela. They faced upcoming Samuel Cassar and Cheryl Gilford. However, the latter were no match for Jacqueline and Matthew who made the U16 Mixed Doubles their own, 21-10 21-6.

Jacqueline was also the star of the Girl’s U16 and U19 Singles and Doubles categories. In U16 Girl’s Singles final, Jacqueline played against the fresh U13 Girl’s Singles champion, Sarah Fava. The latter tried to put up a decent fight in the first set, which she lost 21-12. In the second, Jacqueline’s superiority was more evident as she won the game 21-5. Jacqueline won her first U19 Girl’s Singles title after defeating Maria Angela Gambin in the final with an identical scoreline of 21-12 21-5.

The U16 Girl’s Doubles final was contested by Jacqueline Grech Licari / Martina Vella and Sarah Fava / Cheryl Gilford. After winning the first set with an easy 21-9 score, everyone thought that Jacqueline / Martina would end up easy winners. But Sarah and Cheryl made a strong comeback to put the game level (15-21) and force a deciding set. The third set could have ended up on either side, but Jacqueline and Martina managed to remain and took the points which mattered most to win the set 21-18 and take the first spot.

The new U16 Girl’s Doubles champions also made it all the way to the final of the U19 Girl’s Doubles category. Here, Jacqueline / Martina seemed to play with more confidence as they controlled the play and ousted Atlanta Cochrane / Daniella Galea, 21-11 21-10, to get hold of the U19 Girl’s Doubles title as well.

With the entire 2013 edition of its Junior Nationals now concluded, BadmintonMaltacongratulated all the participants in the separate categories on the high standard of play shown throughout the championships, whilst encouraging them to strive harder in their training and to take part in other competitions organised during this season.





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