“It’s great to participate in an official international tournament but it’s even more exciting to be on the podium!” The satisfaction in their eyes was evident. It was a successful tournament for the players from the Badminton Malta Academy Cadets who participated in the Zagreb Youth Open in the end of September. Four players travelled to Croatia together with coach Rodney Abela.
Day 1 saw the start of the Mixed Doubles event as well as the start of the group stages of the Singles events.
Emily Abela & Austrian Partner Saku started the event well beating a Czech pair. This was followed by Martina Clark & Jeremy Gatt also winning their round of 16 match against fellow Academy player Juan Casaru and Croatian partner Spehar.
In the Boys Singles events Jeremy started well winning his first 2 group matches in a fairly comfortable style while there were the opposite fortunes for Juan who found himself in a very tough group and lost his first two matches. The Girls Singles started on a similar fashion with some close tightly fought matches but managing to come came out on top in straight sets. Emily winning both of her matches while Martina only in a group of 3 players also won her first match.
To finish the day the Boys fought in the boys doubles event last 16 against a very strong German pair.
The second day started with another round of mixed doubles and again Maltese on both sides of the net. Martina and Jeremy came out on top against Emily & Saku to book their place into the Semi Finals.
The final group matches in the singles category provided a much tougher challenge as group winners were to be decided and who would progress into the knockout rounds. Jeremy showed great determination and showed great determination unfortunately losing out in 3 games 21-19, 10-21, 19-21. Juan found a change of fortunes from his previous day losses to win his final game, again showing his desire to not give up on any point and winning in the 3rd set 22-20, 18-21, 21-18.
In the Girls singles Martina showed more improvement and maturity on court although ultimately struggles to keep up with an extremely strong English player. Emily managed another close match in her third group game unfortunately not finding the end quality to take the win.
The Girls Doubles quarter finals showed yet again another great performance and development from previous tournaments falling behind 21-14, 21-18 against the Croatia 1st seeds.
On the finals day just one pairing was in action where Jeremy and Martina contested the Semi Finals against a Czech and Ukrainian pairing . The Maltese took the first game 21-17, the second game ran away from them with a few mistakes losing 13-21 and then the momentum took over in the third losing the match 21-11.
Overall a great all round performance from all the players, constantly fighting for every point and showing great improvement since their last event earlier in the year.