Seven young Maltese badminton athletes accompanied by coaches Edmond Abela, Patrick Cassar and Norman Spiteri, obtained some impressive results apart from gaining invaluable experience at the Merano International Youth Tournament.

The athletes taking part were brothers Neil and Isaac Axisa, Matthew and Mark Abela, Sam Cassar, Nigel Degaetano and Sarah Fava,

One 1st place in the U/15 Boys’ Doubles, and three final placing in the U/15 and U/17 boys singles and U/19 boys doubles.

Debut for the 2 youngest players in the contingent namely Neil and Isaac Axisa who participated in the U/11 and U/13 age category respectively.

Neil Axisa – youngest Maltese badminton athlete to ever compete internationally. Won one match in group stages vs Italian national Florin Stufflesser 21-17, 21-12 and also made it to the semi-finals in the boys doubles partnered by Austrian national Matthias Linzer.

Isaac Axisa – gave a good performance showing determination throughout and managed to arrive to the quarter finals in the doubles event, partnered with Italian national Lukas Pircher.

Sarah Fava – the only female player in the Maltese contingent placed first in the group stages but had to bow down in the 2nd round against number 1 seed Austrian national Anna Hegspiel and lost 21-8, 21-18. Anna Hegspiel eventually won the U/15 ladies singles event.

In the doubles Sarah was partnered with Czech national Anna Natalie Kohoutova but lost in the 1st round to eventual finalists Katharina Fink and Yasmine Hamza 21-19, 8-21, 21-10.

Matthew Abela, finalist in the U/17 singles event, ousted no.1 seed Croatian national Dorian Cvijanovic in the quarter finals 21-8, 21-14 and performed an amazing comeback in the semis, to win Simon Kollemann an Italian national seeded no. 4 with the score of 19-21, 21-18, 21-18.

Matthew was visibly tired, after having played 11 matches over 2 days, lost the final in another pulsating 3-setter 25-23, 15-21, 12-21.

Even though Matthew played together with Nigel Degaetano in a higher age category, they made it to the U/19 final in the men’s doubles event where they lost against the powerful duo from Italy Jonas Gamper and David Salutt 21-8, 21-14.

Nigel Degaetano – Participated in the U/19 singles but did not manage to pass the group stages, even though all his matches were close ties. He however compensated for this by reaching the final in the U/19 doubles category.

Sam Cassar – Finalist in the U/15 singles event. After placing second in the group stages a determined Sam Cassar narrowly ousted Austrian Tobias Rudolf 14-21, 21-13, 22-20 in Round 1 of the knock-out phases and then beat also compatriot and doubles partner Mark Abela in the quarter finals, in a thrilling 3 setter 21-16, 17-21, 21-19.

After making it to the final, he however had to again bow his head to inform no1 seed Nicolas Rudolf who eventually won 21-14, 21-9.

Mark Abela – managed to qualify to the Quarter-Finals where he faced his compatriot Sam Cassar in a fantastic 3-game thriller and then paired with the same Sam Cassar to win the Under 15 Boys’ Doubles.

Mark Abela and Sam Cassar (pics below) made BM history by becoming the Merano U/15 doubles champions. They won all their matches in 2 setters showing a high-level of badminton throughout.

Badminton Malta’s president Chris Spiteri and General Secretary, Jo’Anne Cassar, together with a group of parents and supporters were also present to accompany the players and coaches in the tournament.

Chris Spiteri, Badminton Malta’s President, said that these results affirm the positive trend these players are going through following the recent ISF World Badminton School Championships and it also confirms the hard work being done by the coaches.

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Friday, September 21, 2018
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