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Young athletes do well in the Zagreb Youth Open 2013

Posted By Sportinmalta On October 21, 2013 @ 1:34 pm In Badminton,Featured | No Comments


Three promising badminton players – Matthew Abela (aged 14), Sam Cassar (aged 12) and Mark Abela (aged 12) – made their international debut in the Zagreb Youth Open 2013. Over 100 young badminton players coming from 6 different countries took part in this competition.


This was the first international experience for the Maltese trio who form part of Paola Badminton Club. Accompanied by coaches Edmond Abela and Joanne Cassar, and by committee member Sandra Spiteri, the three young players put up a grand performance despite the initial excitement.


In the U-13 Boy’s Singles, Sam came close to win his initial match against Barna Vadlja (CRO) in three sets, 17-21 21-17 18-21. He then also lost his second match against another Croatian player, Lovro Hanzek, 21-11 21-7. His teammate, Mark, had high hopes of passing the first round as he bravely won the first match against Slovenian Luka Podgorsek 19-21 21-12 21-10. He, however, lost both his remaining matches against Josip Meglic and Luka Ban (both from Croatia) to finish third in his group.


The two Paola players then joined forces in the U-13 Boy’s Doubles. They won their first round match against Borna Carr / Andrej Simic (CRO) 21-12 21-20, but were then eliminated in the quarter finals by Miha Masten (SLO) / Josip Meglic (CRO) 16-21 15-21.


The best result for Malta was achieved by Matthew Abela in the U-15 Boy’s Singles. Matthew convincingly won his initial match against Croatian Filip Pipunic 21-6 21-8. He then lost to Marek Jakes (CZE) 21-17 21-7, but won his final match against Luka Grubic (CRO) 21-11 21-13 to pass to the next phase of the competition. Here, he lost to Hungarian Balasz Papai 18-21 5-21.


In the U-15 Boy’s Doubles, Matthew partnered Slovenian Vid Zohar. Here, Matthew again passed the first round after winning against Martin Sladek / Tomas Svejda (CZE) 21-10 21-14. In their second round match, the two players did their best to upset Vojtech Lapacek (CZE) / Balasz Papai (HUN) but their opponents were too strong for them and ended up losing 21-7 21-16.


Matthew and Mark Abela also took part in the U-15 Mixed Doubles, but both were eliminated in the first round.


All in all it was a very good result for the three young players and Malta, who managed to bring home a number of wins against better ranked countries in international badminton. These results augur well for the future of badminton in Malta and confirm that the hard work that Badminton Malta is putting in its academy is paying off.

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