Earlier this week, Malta hosted the 39th edition of the World Medical & Health Games, and B’Kara Badminton Club player Kenneth Vella participated in 3 badminton categories available for him, namely Men Singles, Men Doubles & Mixed Double.
On Monday Kenneth was engaged in Men Singles (MS). He went through the round robin qualification draw by beating convincingly José Manuel De Oliveira Rodrigues from Portugal, Frank Schleenbecker from Germany and Ervin Strbad from Slovenia. Later in the afternoon, he played the semi-final against Kevin O’Keefe from Canada. In the first set, both players were studying each other and this turned out to be quite close. In the end, Kenneth managed to secure the first set 21-17. In the second set, Kenneth knew from the start what game plan he need to stick to. In fact he managed to win the second set 21-12, which meant that he had secured a place in the final, which was to be held on Tuesday morning.
In the final of the MS, Kenneth challenged Atul Anand Biniwale from India, and this match promised to be an interesting one. Kenneth managed to start off on a positive note beating Biniwale 21-14. The second set was a do or die for Biniwal, who managed to win the 17-21, thanks also to some unforced errors made by Kenneth. This meant that the Gold Medal was to be decided on the 3rd set. From the start Kenneth seemed more determined. He stepped up his game, kept his cool during some important rallies, and won the 3rd set, and thus the Gold Medal, 21-12.
Later in the Morning, Kenneth partnered with David Attard of Shuttles Badminton Club in the Men Doubles (MD), which was held on a round robin system. Despite never practicing playing together, Kenneth & David won their two initial games in 2 straight sets; 21-7 / 21-9 against Frank Schleenbecker from Germany and Ervin Strbad from Slovenia, and 21-7 / 21-15 against José Manuel De Oliveira Rodrigues and André Martins Rodrigues, both from Portugal. Unfortunately, in the deciding game Atul Anand Biniwale from India and Kevin O’Keefe from Canada seemed to have an edge over the Maltese pair, and ended to win the game and the MD title. This meant that Kenneth & David ended 2nd in the MD category, and thus securing the Silver Medal.
After a well-deserved day’s rest, the games resumed on Thursday with the Mixed Doubles (XD) category, were Kenneth partnered with Tiziana Mifsud from Luxol Badminton Club. In their first match, Kenneth & Tiziana beat 21-11 / 21-6 André Martins Rodrigues and Maria Joao Ribeiro Seabra from Portugal. In their second game, they faced Atul Anand Biniwale from India and Sigrid Weckschmied from Germany. The game promised to be an exciting one, seeing the level the players on court produced in the previous days. And it surely did, with some very nice exchange of rallies and shots. However, through the excitement of the game itself, the Maltese pair did some unforced errors and ended losing the match 21-16 / 21-13.
This did not discourage the Maltese pair, given that thanks to their 1st win, they still had the chance go through the qualifications stage if they won another game. In this decisive game their opposition of Ervin Strbad from Slovenia and Nelemar Pires E Silva from Brazil. Kenneth & Tiziana knew that they had to produce a solid game if they wanted to proceed in the final stage, and were determined not to give away any easy points. They managed to do so quite convincingly and in fact managed to drive their opposition to do unforced errors, and ended winning the game 21-11 / 21-8.
This meant that they were through to the final stage of the XD category. In the semi-final Kenneth & Tiziana faced Kevin O’Keefe and Tami Parks from Canada. The Maltese pair knew that they had a tough challenge against this pair, given that they play XD together all year round. However, this challenge made things more interesting for the Maltese pair, who were determined to challenge again Atul Anand and Sigrid in the final. However, the very good performance produced by the Maltese pair wasn’t enough to overcome Kevin O’Keefe and Tami Parks, who ended up winning narrowly the game 21-16 / 21-20 (no setting is allowed in these games).
Later in the afternoon, Kenneth & Tiziana challenged David Attard from Malta and Ragini Bhake from England for the Bronze Medal. Despite all the games played, Kenneth & Tiziana seemed to be much more fit than their opponents. And in fact managed to win with a convincing score of 21-2 / 21-8.
This brought an end to Kenneth’s venture in these games, were he managed to win 3 out of 3 medals;
Men Singles – Gold
Men Doubles – Silver
Mixed Doubles – Bronze
The Committee of B’Kara Badminton Club would like to express its delight for the wonderful results obtained by its elite player Kenneth Vella during these games.
A round of applause goes also to the other Maltese participants who also did very well in the games.