Talented juniors battle it out for badminton titles

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THE Milton Keynes & District Badminton Association held its annual junior tournament over two weekends, with the cream of the city’s young talent battling it out for a place at the top.

More than 200 players entered the competition, sponsored again by Carlton, including nationally ranked juniors, although the event was open to all youngsters from city clubs and schools.

The U10s boys’ category was dominated by winner Ethan Van Leeuween and runner-up Alex Moffat who played in the singles final, and then paired up to win the doubles trophy. The same was true with the girls where Maeve McKinnell beat Olivia Wingate in the singles before they partnered each other to win the doubles.

The U12s’ competition brought a much closer contest as Steven Stallwood won a very tight final against Harry Huang, 21-18. But Harry got his revenge in the final of the doubles when, with partner Callum Hemming, they narrowly edged past Stallwood and Daniel Ivall by five games to four.

In the girls group, Fee Teng Liew beat Sita Marjoria in the U12s’ singles, although Sita later went on to win the doubles event with her twin sister Gauri, with Dominique Bell and Ruchika Madhotra the runners-up.

The U14s boys singles winner was Alex Mitchell who beat the U12 winner Steven Stallwood in the final. And Alex even went on to win the U16 boys title, beating Alex Pandya in a very tight final.

Again, the doubles proved to be a different story when Pandya was a winner with partner Brett Bullman in the U14 category by beating Mitchell and Hemming.

Mitchell and Pandya paired up in the higher group U16s doubles but were beaten to the title by Lip Seen Liew and Kalana De Silva in what proved to be a very close and hard fought category.

Kerry Anne Leaney emerged as the U14 girls champion, beating Amber Ngo in the final. Molly Chapman and Holly Garret won the doubles in an extremely close final against Evie Burbidge and Issy Comley, edging it top 21-19.

After winning the U12 group, Fee Teng Liew went on to claim the U16 girls singles title in the most tightly contested section of all, beating U14 champion Kerry Anne Leaney by just one point in their decider.

Liew also won the doubles title with Amber Ngo, beating Leaney and her partner Holly Garrett.

Darren Adamson proved too strong in the U18 boys group and was a clear winner of both the singles and, with Steve George, the doubles titles. Alex Munns secured more runner-up trophies in the singles and, with partner Rory Kitchen, in the doubles.

In the final event to be played, the mixed doubles, there were some really tight matches with semi-finals required to determine the finalists. In the end, Matthew Harris and Lucy Mason were the unbeaten pair, finally securing the title 21-13 against Alex Munns and Lydia Milligan.

All matches were played to a high standard, with some close but good-spirited competition at the National Badminton Centre in front of plenty of spectators and an electric atmosphere for both weekends.