dynamic: Solangel Guzman

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Triple crown hat-trick for Solangel Guzman

Pantin is national champ for eighth time

By Shammi Kowlessar

SOLANGEL GUZMAN captured another triple crown and Kerwyn Pantin was crowned men’s singles champion for an eighth time when the National Badminton Championships ended Sunday night at Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Chaguanas.
With both players already having two titles in the bag, Pantin and Guzman squared off in the final match of the night in the mixed doubles final.
And not surprisingly, Guzman came out on top as she and last year’s national Under-19 champion Jason Ramjass came away 21-13, 21-15 winners over Pantin and Kelly Mollah.
It was the third year in succession that the Cuban had notched a triple crown in the National Championships.
Guzman began her quest by overwhelming Kristi Reno-Singh 21-4, 21-6 in the women’s singles final.
The 17-year-old, also the runner-up last year, did not drop a set leading up to the final and is clearly the second best player in the country.
But Guzman, a gold medallist in the 2006 CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games and a bronze medallist in last year’s Pan American Championships, is in a completely different league and has not come to dropping a set since she has been in Trinidad.
The 29-year-old and two-time defending national Under-19 champ Reno-Singh brushed aside singles semi-finalists Reba Fleary and Nekeisha Blake, a five-time national champ in her first tournament in two years, 21-11, 21-6 for the doubles crown.
Pantin, who was not in winners’ row for two straight years after being crowned singles champ for the sixth consecutive time in 2010, picked up his second title in a row and eighth overall when he defeated Nicholas Bonkowsky 21-19, 21-10.
Still, the Canadian, whose mother hails from Trinidad, was one of the players of the tournament, as he ousted top-seeded Alistair Espinoza in the second round and then battled back from the jaws of defeat to deny both national Under-19 champ Naim Mohammed and Anil Seepaul in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.
Seepaul, a five-time national singles champ as well as a multiple doubles and mixed doubles champ, and Mohammed were beaten 21-12, 21-17 in the doubles final by Keston Friday and Pantin.
And Andre Lewis and Derek Singh were 21-19, 21-13 winners over Sunil Ramadhar and Christopher Joachim 21-19, 21-13 in the masters’ (over-40) doubles final of the five-day tournament.
The singles champs collected $2,000 apiece and the three triumphant doubles pairs each collected $2,400.
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