Emma Farnham returned home from competing in the Spanish Para-Badminton International held in Majorca with a silver medal in the women’s doubles SS6 Exhibition and a bronze from the women’s singles.
An overjoyed Emma partnered Poland’s Maria Bartusz to a 21-1 21-7 victory over Daria Bujnicka and Deirdre Nagle, which earned them a silver medal despite losing to the top English pair of Rebecca Bedford and Rachel Choong 21-9 21-5.
The competition had been a very difficult one for the Alpha player losing her opening match against the No.2 seed in the women’s singles SS6 Rebecca Bedford 21-7 21-3 but came back strongly to record a three-set victory over her doubles partner from Poland Maria Bartusz.
After Emma had lost her opening set 21-10 she battled her way back to level by the same score and controlled the later stages of the deciding set 21-14. As a result of finishing runner-up in the group she automatically progressed into the semi-final to meet the top seed Rachel Choong (England) and can be well pleased with her performance.
The enormity of the task facing them in the doubles could hardly have been more difficult as the pair had then to take on two of the top young players in the SS6 class, Isaak Dalglish and Robert Laing who proved too strong for the Farnham/Batusz pairing 21-5 21-6 with their next group stage contest against the top-seeded Krysten Coombs and Jack Shephard.
To come away from that encounter after 22 minutes with a score-line of 21-5 21-7 was one which the women doubles partnership can be justifiably pleased with.
Again it didn’t get any better for the Alpha player as she then had to face the top seed in the Women’s Singles SS6 Rachel Choong who went on to lift the title with a 21-10 21-5 victory over Rebecca Bedford.
Whilst there was a major disappointment for Niall McVeigh who has done so much to raise the profile of Para-Badminton here in Ireland and has his ambitions still clearly focussed on the Olympics although it has still not been identified that the very popular SS6 class will be one of the new events Niall nevertheless lifted a silver medal in the Men’s Doubles.
Seeded No.3 with Chun Yim they were able to ease through 21-8 21-5 against Fabien Morat and Joan Pahisa in just 19 minutes and saw off the No.4 seeds from England Rebecca Bedford and Rachael Choong 21-9 21-9 to reach the quarter-finals.
The top women’s pair of Bedford and Choong seeded No.4 ironically had another opportunity to cause an upset against the No.3 seeds but Niall and Chun Yim did enough to see them through 21-3 21-14 to meet the No.2 seeds Oliver Clarke and Andrew Martin who gave them quite a scare taking the opening set 21-17.
The No.3 seeds snatched the second 21-18 and booked their place in the final 21-13 with their reward a clash against the seasoned top seeds Krysten Coombs and Jack Shephard who hadn’t dropped a single set in the Men’s Doubles.
The No.3 seeds were able to give the top seeds a run for their money but could not make that vital breakthrough losing 21-16 21-16 in 50 minutes, a win which was also to give Coombs a double haul of gold medals, having beaten Jack Shephard 21-13 22-20 in the final of the singles.
Andrew Moorcroft must have been wondering what he had done to deserve such a draw too, meeting the top seed Krysten Coombs in his opening singles match. But Coombs certainly didn’t have things all his own way against Moorcroft and the score-line does not really do the young Alpha player any justice at all and in his second singles match Moorcroft was to come ever so close to taking the opening set off Fabien Morat only for the French player to win 26-24 21-12.
In the men’s doubles it was the No.2 seeds Oliver Clarke and Andrew Martin who were to inflict a straight sets win over Moorcroft and his partner Alexander Mekhdiev but the pair were able to triumph 21-6 21-54 over Daria Bujnika and Deirdre Nagle and were unfortunate not to take the opening set off the highly rated Isaak Dalglish and Robert Laing.
Stephen Brian Halpin was to put up a spirited fight in his opening clash of the Men’s singles SL4 against the No3/4 seed Raul Anguiano, a match which lasted 31 minutes. The Alpha player was then to end the hopes of Turkey’s Kamal Erdem Orhon, winning the opening set 21-14 and having to seal the match 21-12 after his opponent had leveled by taking the second.
When Sukant Kadam took the opening game of the final match in the group 21-16 Halpin must have really believed that he could turn the game around and he was so very near to taking the match into a deciding set, just falling short of that second set 21-18 which would have been a just reward for his efforts, although with Kadam having reached the semi-final – and only losing to the top seed – may have helped ease the disappointment a little.
In the group stages of the Wheelchair mixed doubles Chris Stewart and Laura Lee Jenkins recorded an excellent win over Manuel Sanchez and Marcella Li Brizzi 21-7 21-5 after a 34 minute encounter but were beaten in straight sets by the No.3/4 seeds Young-Chin Mi and Valeska Knoblaunch while despite a defeat in the Women’s Singles at the hands of the eventual bronze medallist Nina Gorodetzky (Israel), Laura was to record a 21-10 21-18 win over Heidi Manninen. In the women’s doubles partnering Scotland’s Fiona Christie, Laura Lee was to meet the No.2 seeds and eventual bronze medallists Cynthia Mathez/Karin Suter-Erath.
Piece by Brian Kelly.
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