The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Badminton – 38th Eurosport National championships: Finals marked by sporting acts

Malta Independent Friday, 8 May 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

Badminton Malta recently organised the 38th edition of its Malta National Championships, once again sponsored by EuroSport.

Since the 27th edition held in 1998, the event has been sub-titled as the “Paddy Stubbs Memorial Championships”, in memory of this well-known philanthropist and generous benefactor of Maltese sport.

Played at the Cottonera Sports Complex and St. Martin’s College, these Championships comprised the traditional five categories: Men’s Singles and Doubles, Women’s Singles and Doubles as well as Mixed Doubles.

In view of the large number of participants, a preliminary competition started off the Men’s Singles category; this was won by Edmond Abela who defeated Samuel Cali 21/18 - 21/14.

David Cole and Kenneth Vella contested the Men’s Singles final. The former had ousted title-holder Stefan Salomone in the semi-final.

Cole started well against a somewhat hesitant Vella, initially surging 7/3 ahead, and was leading 11/6 at the interval. He maintained his momentum in the second part of the first set, going 17/10 ahead, before taking the set 21/12.

Vella reacted strongly in the second set to put himself back in contention. After a somewhat balanced start, he went 8/4 ahead and was leading 11/8 at the interval.

Cole tried his utmost to save the set and even managed to draw level at 16/16. However, it was Vella who had the last say, taking the set 21/17.

The third set was therefore to decide the issue. However, with Vella leading 8/7, Cole was forced to withdraw after sustaining a serious injury, as a result of which he had to be hospitalised.

To his credit, Vella declined to claim the national Singles title and opted to replay the match at a later date, once his opponent recovered from the injury.

Cole’s withdrawal signified also the cancellation of the Men’s Doubles final, which featured him and Kenneth Vella against Robert and Stefan Salomone. Here again the Salomone brothers opted to replay the match at a later date, after Cole’s complete recovery.

The Women’s Singles category had started off with a preliminary competition, which was won by Marisa Micallef who defeated Claire O’Berg 21/6 - 21/9.

Joanne Cassar and Fiorella Farrugia made it to the Women’s Singles final; the former had ousted defending champion Maria Borg in the semi-final.

A clearly determined Cassar started well and lead 11/7 at the interval. In the second part of the first set, she surged 16/9 ahead before taking the set 21/14.

Cassar did not relinquish her hold in the second set. After leading 11/5 at the interval, she kept relentlessly piling the pressure on Farrugia to take the set 21/6 and win the eleventh national Singles title in her career.

In the other categories, the Women’s Doubles title was retained for another by defending champions Catherine Dimech/Joanne Cassar who defeated Maria Borg/Fiorella Farrugia in two sets: 21/14 - 21/11.

The Mixed Doubles category also had its own preliminary event. This was won by Rodney Abela/Sharon Sultana who defeated Edmond Abela/Christina Mifsud 21/18 - 21/14.

Played earlier in the week, the Mixed Doubles title was similarly retained by Stefan Salomone/Fiorella Farrugia at the end of an exciting three-set thriller in which they defeated David Cole/Joanne Cassar 21/11 - 18/21 - 24/22.

Badminton Malta commended the acts of true sportsmanship made by the finalists and expressed its satisfaction at the high standard of play shown throughout the Championships.

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