SOLANGE GUZMAN picked up a bronze medal for Trinidad and Tobago at the Pan American Badminton Championships, yesterday, in Dominican Republic.
After stunning the No. 4 seed in the morning session to be assured of a medal, the Cuban, who has been residing here for over three years, was defeated 21-15, 21-9 by top-seeded American Jamie Subandhi in the afternoon in the semi-finals.
The highlight of Guzman’s career until this achievement was winning the gold medal for Cuba at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
The 28-year-old became the only unseeded player to reach the last four when she sent fourth-seeded Vibieca Beronica of Dominican Republic packing, yesterday, 21-15, 21-17.
Guzman, who is still in the process of becoming a T&T citizen and can only fly the red, white and black flag in individual events, reached the semis without dropping a set from three matches. But the player who had whipped the No. 5 seed in the opening round could not be the giant-killer for the third time against the title favourite.
Guzman and Virginia Chariandy Balwant, who combined to strike gold at the Venezuela Open and also picked up the silver medal at the Caribbean Championships (CAREBACO) last year, had the misfortune of pulling the No. 2 seeds, and they were hammered 21-9, 21-3 by Canadians Alex Bruce and Phyllis Chan in the first round of women’s doubles on Friday night.
Anil Seepaul, a five-time national men’s singles champ as well as multiple national men’s doubles and mixed doubles winner, and Roger Moore came up against the No.4 seeds and were beaten 21-12, 21-10 by Humblers Heymard and Anibal Marroquin of Guatemala.
Balwant, one of the Caribbean’s leading players of the late 1970s and 80s who is now winning medals at international masters’ (over-35) events at age 51, and Moore were outclassed 21-2, 21-8 by Brazilians Ana Paula Campos and Luiz Dos Santos in the round of 16 in mixed doubles. The T&T players had won their first round match by default, but Seepaul and Guzman, also combining for the first time, fell at the first hurdle on Thursday night to the No. 6 seeds.
Guzman has not lost a set to a local player since she has been here, and captured a triple crown at the last two editions of the National Championships. The silver medallist in singles and doubles at last year’s CAREBACO also seized a triple crown at the Venezuela Open last year and successfully defended her singles title at that tournament this year.