by Michele Cruz
Hordes of badminton enthusiasts descended on MIT gym in Cambridge, Massachusetts to witness the 47th annual Boston Badminton Open, with a total cash prize of $25,000. This is considered to be one of the biggest and most awaited tournaments in the USA, second only to the US Open. Top players from all over the country compete for the prestigious titles, even attracting national players, ex-national players, and coaches. Every year, the competition gets tougher and tougher and the audience gets bigger and bigger.
Seeded #1 Beiwen Zheng (NV) was the big winner taking both the WS and WD title with partner, Jing Yu Hong (CA), beating out Olympians Eva Lee (CA) and her WD partner, Paula Obanana (CA), 21-16, 21-15, in an exciting match.
Sanchita Pandey (VA) challenged Beiwen Zheng in the WS final, defeating #2 seed, Monika Szoke in a grueling 3 setter match. Natalie Chi, another elite junior from California fell in quarter finals to the youngster from Virginia. The youngster showed great composure and heart during the match, but in the end lost 12-21, 17-21.
In the MS, #5/8 seed, Binghong Ye, former Chinese national player currently residing in Illinois, created several upsets taking out Charles Gu (CA) and #3/4 seed, Kwong Beng Chan (CA). Marky Alcala, #2 seed, also fell against the Chinese power house and eventually winning the MS title, 21-18, 21-9, against #1 seed, Pandu Dewantoro.
MD saw two new pairs emerging in the finals, Arya Aldiartama and Rangga Rianto from Maryland against Malaysians, Yao Han Ow and Hong Kheng Yew (#3/4 seed). There was a lot of fast and furious exchanges with powerful smashes coming from both sides. The first set was taken by the Malaysians and in second set when the score was 19 all, Rianto served into the net, giving the Malaysians match point where they finally won 21-12, 21-19.
Eva Lee made her second appearance with partner Kwong Beng Chan (#5/8 seed) against new comers from Club28 in Philadelphia, Sutchon Pol-gul and his partner, Natch Saengchote. The Thai duo were unchallenged until the semi-finals in an almost hour long match against crowd favorites, Eva and Kwong Beng. The crowd was treated a game that showcased badminton at its best, but the title eventually went to the unseeded pair from Philadelphia.
Collegiate athlete, Angela Lin, was able to defend her triple crown with the help from partners Mengting Qui, and top seed, Lee Chern from Drexel University. Lee went on to secure second place in consolation MS and consolation MD with new partner, Benjamin Chen.
Daphne Chang and Neil Davies took home the senior XD defeating #2 seed, Sajith Vakail and Amy Cheng with a close first set 22-20, 21-14.
And with that, the three day Boston tournament concluded. Three days of hard work that paid off for some and inspired others to work and train harder. In the end, we all came to celebrate our love for the sport.
Congratulations to all the athletes! Until next year…