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Wilford roars back in Chaguanas

MATTHAUS WILFORD rebounded after a shocking defeat the night before to capture the boy's title in the Trinidad and Tobago Badminton Association's Junior Invitational Singles Tournament, Sunday night at Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Chaguanas.

After being stunned 21-18, 21-18 by Arun Maraj in the round-robin group stage of the tournament featuring many of the country's leading under-15, 17 and 19 players, the two-time defending national under-19 champion gained sweet revenge with a commanding 21-10, 21-10 victory in the title match.

Still it was a tremendous tournament for Maraj as after beating Wilford, the under-17 player came from behind to defeat Adrian Nicholson 15-21, 21-14, 21-12 and then crushed national under-15 runner-up Nirad Ramlal 21-3, 21-2 to top Group A.

Wilford also booked his place in the quarte-finals by whipping Nicholson 21-8, 21-11 and Ramlal 21-11, 21-9.

He then rolled over Keelon Mitchell 21-10, 21-5 to set up a semifinal meeting with doubles partner Jason Ramjass.

The two were expected to clash for the title, but the draw was turned upside down when top-seeded Wilford failed to win his group.

Ramjass, last year's national under-17 champ, had edged the improving Will Lee (17-21, 21-17, 21-18) and breezed past Raphael Kelly (21-16, 21-10) to win Group B and then overwhelmed national under-15 champ Jerome Charles 21-5, 21-6.

But the youngster who played second fiddle in the last two national under-19 finals was again thwarted by his nemesis as Wilford came from behind to book his place in the final, 15-21, 21-7, 21-10.

Maraj was a 21-10, 21-18 winner over Group C runner-up Naim Mohammed in the opening round of the knockout phase and then scored a nail-biting 21-17, 21-23, 21-19 in the semis over Lee, who had trounced Aleem Ali 21-8, 21-14 in the previous round.

After expectedly winning her four Group A matches in straight sets, Kristi Reno-Singh, who won four titles in last year's National Junior Championships but out of the country for this year's edition, mauled Hannahleel Bones 21-8, 21-10 in the semis and then cruised past Jada Renales 21-13, 21-12 for the girls' crown.

Renales had also lost to Reno-Singh (21-9, 21-17) in the round-robin stage, but won her three other matches and then halted Akeila Pascal 21-17, 21-15 in the semis. There will be a similar singles only tournament for the senior players this Saturday and Sunday.

Selected round-robin results GIRLS' GROUP A — K. Reno-Singh bt Shenese Lalla 21-7, 21-14, bt Ashisha Persad 21-15, 21-13 and Tanya Rampersad 21-8, 21-7. Renales bt Lalla 21-13, 21-10, bt Persad 21-10, 21-5 and Rampersad 21-7, 21-8. Lalla bt Persad 9-21, 21-17, 21-19 and Rampersad 14-21, 21-14, 25-23. Rampersad bt Persad 21-16, 21-18. GROUP B —A. Pascal bt H. Bones 22-20, 21-10, bt Ralitsa Wong 21-11, 21-13 and Tiffany Rampersad 21-15, 21-18. Bones bt Wong 21-11, 21-9 and Rampersad 21-8, 21-19. Wong bt Rampersad 21-17, 21-15.   BOYS' GROUP A — A. Nicholson bt N. Ramlal 21-8, 21-8. GROUP B — W. Lee bt R. Kelly 14-21, 21-14, 21-15. GROUP C — K. Mitchell bt N. Mohammed 21-18, 21-12 and Reizad Thompson 21-16, 21-18. Mohammed bt Thompson 21-11, 21-18         GROUP D — A. Ali be J. Charles 22-20, 21-12. Johann Labastide defaulted both his matches.

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