Gold for Jamaica seniors, juniors at CAREBACO Champs
BOTH Jamaica's senior and junior teams won gold in the Team Event at the 2014 staging of the Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (CAREBACO) Championships at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology (UTech) Papine campus on Saturday night.
The senior team, who lost to their opponents in the first round, returned on this occasion more focused and composed and defeated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 in the final, while the junior team also had the same scoreline against T&T.
The senior team started the celebrations when Jamaica's number one male player Gareth Henry crushed T&T's Kerwyn Pantin 21-5 and 21-18 in the men's singles to give the home team a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five games.
The Jamaicans then went ahead when the local queen Geordine Henry, Gareth's sister, showed her class and came from behind to beat Nikeisha Blake in two sets, 23-21 and 21-11, in the women's single to put Jamaica at 2-0 heading into the crucial third game.
One could feel the tension rising inside the UTech auditorium as a victory in the men's doubles would seal the deal for Jamaica. The pair of Gareth Henry and Jamari Rose lost the first set
18-21 to T&T's pair of Kerwyn Pantin and Keston on Friday, but quickly regrouped and took the second set 22-20 to send the game into the third and final deciding set. With the Jamaican spectators cheering on the local boys, Henry and Rose responded well and crushed their opponents 21-11 to take the match which sent the Jamaican senior team into rapture.
With Jamaica having a unassailable lead of 3-0, the women's doubles and mixed doubles was not played.
"The feeling is good, it is good to be team champions, I am having a little trouble with injuries since the Commonwealth Games, but I have rested and now I am fit and I am glad that I could come out here and get the job done for my team," Gareth Henry said.
Geordine Henry, in the meantime, said she was happy with her form.
"I am happy with the way how I am playing right now as I am on top of my game. It is always good to win a gold medal for your country, but my focus right now is on the singles," said the local badminton queen.
Meanwhile, T&T's technical director Solangel Guzman said that she was disappointed in her team's performance.
"Despite the loss we are already champions. We beat all the teams, including Jamaica, and top the standins, and unfortunately we had to play the final. The team was not mentally prepared for tonight (Saturday) as we gave away too many points, which cost us the game," Guzman said.
"Our attention now will be on the singles and we will see who is going to win the most medals now," she added.
Final score: Jamaica 3; T&T 0.
The junior team was as equally effective as the seniors. Katherine Wynter got Jamaica off to a flying start defeating T&T's Kristie Reno-Singh 21-10 and 21-7 in the girls' singles, while Samuel Ricketts was equally focused as he crushed Will Lee 21-13 and 21-11 in the boys' equivalent to give Jamaica a comfortable 2-0 lead heading into the crucial third game.
Needing to win the third set to secure victory for Jamaica, the pair of Christina Petri and Jade Clarke did not disappoint as they easily defeated T&T's pair of Jada Renales and Kristie Reno-Singh 21-10 and 21-13 in the girls' doubles and made sure that Jamaica took the double.
With Jamaica having a unassailable lead of 3-0, the boys' doubles and mixed doubles was not played.
Final Score: Jamaica 3; T&T 0.
The Junior team coach Howard Ranger said that he is happy with his team's performance.
"It is a good performance by the team, they stuck to the plan and we came out victorious with the gold medal," he said.
His opposite number Derwin Renalez was happy with his team's performance as well.
"Although we lost I think that we played good and I am satisfied with their performance. Jamaica were just better than us tonight (Saturday) and the support was tremendous as well," said Renalez, who is also the president of the T&T's badminton association.
With the team event over, the attention now turns to the individual events which starts today.