PAN AM CHAMPS 2014 – Canada claws back to win team final

Home team Canada fought back from a two-match deficit to take a 3-2 win in the final of the mixed team competition at the Pan Am Championships. By Don Hearn.  […]

Home team Canada fought back from a two-match deficit to take a 3-2 win in the final of the mixed team competition at the Pan Am Championships.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Valerie Loker (live) and Badmintonphoto (archives)

Commonwealth Games champion Michelle Li was instrumental in her team’s 3-2 win over the United States, Canada’s 9th straight Pan Am mixed team title.  It came with the home team’s fourth straight win over the USA but it had been a long time since the Canadians had had to work so hard to win this title.

The day began with each team notching up a 3-0 semi-final shutout to book a spot in the finals.  Peru, which has reached two finals in the past decade but hasn’t won the continental team title since 1993, went down to the hosts while the U.S. team blanked Brazil.

The final then started off with a very close mixed doubles match involving 3 Olympians.  Canada’s Toby Ng and London semi-finalist Alex Bruce came back from the brink to win the second game 22-20 but it was the only non-Olympian on court, Phillip Chew, who put together his own little highlight reel in the deciding game, retrieving three shots from a seated position to rescue the point that would allow he and Eva Lee (pictured) to force the end-change.  The Americans went on to win that game 21-17 and put their team up 1-0.

Next, Sattawat Pongnairat (pictured below) used his experience to put down Andrew D’Souza in just half an hour.  Pongnairat has played three Superseries events this year, plus the World Championships, while D’Souza had played only one international match apart from the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and was no match for his opponent, who put the Americans up 2-0.

Speaking of experience, Canada was next to depend on the reigning women’s singles champion in this event – as well as the Canada Open, Commonwealth Games, and a pair of International Challenges – to begin the salvage mission for Canada’s chances.  Li enjoyed a comfortable win over Jamie Subandhi to finally give the Canadians a point on the board.  This was followed by another reigning continental champion, the men’s doubles pair of Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu.  They were able to exact some payback from Chew for his earlier defeat of Derrick’s brother and the Canadians had the tying point and the momentum.

The deciding women’s doubles match began with Rachel Honderich and Michelle Li (pictured below) turning that team momentum into good start only to see their promising one-game lead rudely erased when Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana, the Americas’ top-ranked pair, won the second 21-8.  The veteran Li and her 18-year-old partner held on, though, and took it in three to keep the team title in Canada.

The 2014 Pan Am Championships are one of several test events this year as part of preparation for next year’s Pan Am Games.  Up next are the individual events, which are the real dress rehearsal for what could yield gold in 2015.

Pan Am Mixed Team Final Result: Canada 3, United States 2
XD: Toby Ng / Alex Bruce lost to Phillip Chew / Eva Lee 16-21, 22-20, 17-21
MS: Andrew D’Souza lost to Sattawat Pongnairat 12-21, 16-21
WS:  Michelle Li beat Jamie Subandhi  21-17, 21-15
MD: Adrian Liu / Derrick Ng beat Phillip Chew / Sattawat Pongnairat  21-10, 20-22, 21-17
WD: Rachel Honderich / Michelle Li beat Eva Lee / Paula Lynn Obanana  21-18, 8-21, 21-11

Click here for detailed results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @