A new season for Badminton Malta has kicked off for 2016/17 with a new, fresh look being given to competitions. A new set-up has been mainly given to the ranking tournaments, first of which, was held recently and saw the best of Maltese Badminton battling for the title and for precious ranking points which will eventually determine the local ranking list. The format of this competition is based on a compass format where a knockout is played with the winners advancing to the next round and the losers to continue competing to determine all the placings. This gives a chance to all participants to play the maximum games possible to gain more competition experience to fit Badminton Malta’s vision to increase participation in top international competitions.
This first Ranking tournament started with qualifier rounds where lower ranked players fought for a place in the main draw. In the men’s category Avner Vella and Zack Cilia made it to the main draw while in the women’s category Maya Xuereb and Michela Gatt managed to qualify to the next round.
The main draw included 16 male and 8 female players where six of the seeded players passed to the Quarter Finals and all seeded female players unsurprisingly passed to the next round. In the quarter-finals, Matthew Abela, Stefan Salomone, Kenneth Vella and Samuel Calí, all of which are current or former National Champions, made it to the semi-finals where they faced each other in tough matches where Matthew Abela and Samuel Calí got the upperhand on Stefan Salomone and Kenneth Vella respectively, to reach the final. The final confirmed Matthew Abela’s current top form after beating Samuel Calí 21-7,21-11.
In the women’s category, reigning Women’s Singles National Champion for 5 consecutive years Fiorella-Marie Sadowski, managed to qualify to the final match and continued to show her domination in the female category by winning the final against the 16-year-old Yanika Polidano who rose to the occasion and offered an exceptional challenge to the current National Champion. The match resulted in a very close encounter where Sadowski managed to overcome Polidano’s challenge with a close win 27-25 and 23-21.
These results augur well for both winners, Matthew Abela and Fiorella-Marie Sadowski, who will be taking part in international competitions soon, with the former participating in the Czech Junior & Slovak Junior competitions in November and the latter taking part in the Italian International Open in December. This first ranking tournament for the season created exciting, thrilling moments and matches that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats!
Badminton Malta expressed its satisfaction for the success of such event, for the level of play shown, and for the unlimited number of exciting rallies that Malta’s top players offered to the local Badminton fans.