Badminton Malta Academy players travelled to Trencin, Slovakia to compete in the Badminton Europe U19 Circuit and the U15 Youth tournaments with coach Rodney Abela.
Francesca Clark competed in the U19’s Women’s Singles draw where unfortunately she lost a close first round match against Lucia Vasatova 17-21, 18-21. In the Women’s Doubles event Francesca partnered up with Marketa Koutova from Czech Republic. In the round of 32 they won in straight sets 22-20, 21-14 to progress into the last 16 where they would face the 4th seeds from Poland. As a scratch pairing, they fought hard against a more established pairing losing the first games 14-21 before fighting back in the second 21-16 and take it to a final end unfortunately losing 15-21.
In the U15 Youth tournament Malta had 4 players all playing in all three categories of Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The singles played in groups saw some mixed results with Jeremy and Martina winning their first games 21-5, 21-4 and 21-4, 21-3 respectively while Juan and Emily fell to defeats also in straight sets. The second round of group games followed the same pattern with Jeremy and Martina winning again to single figures while Emily and Juan again struggling against their respective opponents. In the final group games Jeremy continued his winning streak to top his group and progress into the round of 16 as winner, Martina found herself in a much tougher group game than she had faced so far and fell to defeat 17-21, 17-21 but still progressed through to the knockout stages of last 16. Juan Casaru continued to be positive and work hard in his final group game taking the win in 3 sets 21-14, 17-21, 21-16. Emily Abela also showed great determination in her final match and even after losing the first 14-21 fought back to take the second and third ends 21-16, 21-18.
In the singles round of 16 Jeremy had found himself in a tough side of the draw and played a strong Hungarian but he gave everything he had losing in a tight 18-21, 22-24, ultimately a great result for a young player playing up an extra age group. Martina came up against a tough Slovakian player and just couldn’t find the standard needed to progress losing 13-21, 16-21.
The Doubles events saw both pairings gain a place into the quarter finals, Martina and Emily facing a Slovakian pairing in which a tough start saw them lose 12-21 and couldn’t quite make up the difference in the second 18-21. Juan and Jeremy also in the quarter finals stage also found the game hard unable to really find any rhythm or control of their game eventually losing 11-21, 11-21.
The Mixed Doubles saw Juan and scratch partner Vanessa Odaska start in the round of 32 and fall to defeat against a more regular pairing 9-21, 12-21. Emily & Jeremy started their match in the round of 16 and after some very good hard fought rallies, they couldn’t quite find the way through losing 16-21, 18-21. The final pairing of Martina Clark and Jakub Klokan from Czech Republic took a good first win in the round of 16 21-11, 21-6, Into the quarter finals they faced Sulek & Bieleschova who gave them a much better tighter game which they fought though 21-15, 21-19 and move into the semi finals and podium finish. In the semi finals they faced Antamonov & Alexsandrova winning the first game 21-19, the Ukrainian pairing pulled back the second 16-21 and continued the momentum to take the final end 18-21 and leaving Martina and Jakub a 3rd place finish.
Overall a good tournament all round with each of the players showing great fight and determination in all of their games. All players are working hard in training and trying to apply these principles into the competitive environment to further add to their development and experience.