USA and Jinadasa Win at Thomas Cup Prelims
The Thomas and Uber Cup Preliminaries for the Pan American Region concluded at the Los Angeles Badminton Club on Sunday, February 19th. The Bellevue Badminton Club’s very own Pro, Nicholas Jinadasa, represented the USA in the event, and gave our country the final win it needed over Guatemala in a thrilling match to win the tournament.
It all started back in December of 2011 when Nick participated in the National Team Trials in Boston. He ended up getting second in his round robin and then earning the third place spot on the team by defeating the same opponent he had previously lost to in the round robin. This will sound familiar in a moment, but first, a brief overview.
The Thomas cup and Uber cup are considered to be the World Team Championships of Badminton. Held biennially, 12 countries earn the right to compete for the prestigious title. The format for the Thomas and Uber Cups, as with the preliminaries, consists of round robin play where countries face off playing three singles matches and two doubles matches. The winners of the group then advance to a draw and with the Pan Am preliminaries the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinal.
In pool play, Nick and team USA cruised passed Puerto Rico and Jamaica with an unblemished record until they faced Guatemala. All three singles players for team USA struggled against the Guatemalan front, losing all three singles matches. However, the former world Champions in Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan were able to divide and conquer to win the two doubles matches easily. Nonetheless, team USA came in second, having to face our rivals north of the border in the semifinal.
To spare the details, Sunday started better than Saturday finished, and team USA appeared to wash out the bad taste in their mouths with Canada, winning 3-0, and not dropping a single set. Because the team had already won three matches out of five, Nick was afforded some rest and could look forward to facing Guatemala again in the finals.
Things started out rough again for team USA, with Sattawat Pongnairat losing a close first set to Guatemala’s top player, Kevin Cordon, 20-22, and eventually losing the match. Events took a turn for the better, however, when Howard Shu found a way through Guatemala’s Rodolfo Ramirez, and evened the score at one match a piece. Howard Bach then paired with Pongnairat and easily took the lead two matches to one. Now it came down to Nick’s match against Heymard Humblers, who he had just lost to the previous day.
Nick jumped in front with an inspiring start, winning the first set 21-6, and then not quite able to pull off the second, losing a tough 19-21. The final set had the home crowd riled up, and Nick did not disappoint, coming out victorious with an exciting 21-19 finish, and piloting team USA towards the next stage of the Thomas Cup, taking place in Wuhan, China in May 2012. The USA Uber Cup team will also be joining the men’s team in China, as they defeated archrivals, Canada, three games to two in a similarly exciting final.
Results from the Thomas Cup Preliminary can be found here:
We wish Coach Nick and team USA the best of luck in China, and if you see him in the halls or on the courts, feel free to congratulate him on this great accomplishment.