PAN AM JUNIORS – Yang 2 for 3, mixed triple for Chien/Lai

Brian Yang narrowly missed a triple crown at the Pan Am Junior Championships, but partner Jonathan Chien teamed up with Crystal Lai to pull off the mixed doubles triple as […]

Brian Yang narrowly missed a triple crown at the Pan Am Championships, but partner Jonathan Chien teamed up with Crystal Lai to pull off the mixed doubles triple as Canada took all but one of the under-19 titles.

Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

17-year-old Brian Yang (pictured top) had already proven himself the favourite to win the singles title in the Under-19 event at the 2019 Pan Am Junior Badminton Championships.  In fact, forget about juniors, the Canadian youngster has recorded wins this year of every Pan Am men’s singles champion going back almost a decade, including unbeaten records against 3-time winner Osleni Guerrero of Cuba and two-time Pan Am Games gold medallist Kevin Cordon.  He also started off the year by winning his first national title, beating 2016 Pan Am Champion Jason Ho-Shue in the final.

But in Moncton, New Brunswick on Saturday, he was looking for not one, not even two, but three titles and he had booked spots in all three finals.  In his opening appearance on court, he took on his boys’ doubles partner Jonathan Chien in mixed.  His partner was Catherine Choi, who herself was runner-up at the in April.  They took the first game but lost the next two narrowly to Chien and Crystal Lai (pictured right).

That was to be Yang’s longest match of the day and he finished off the boys’ singles and doubles finals in double-quick time, undercutting the 23-minute singles encounter by one minute by the time he and Chien had finished off Clayton Cayen and Ryan Zheng of the United States.

Chien, meanwhile, was not the only mixed winner to follow up with a second title.  His partner Crystal Lai partnered Wendy Zhang and won handily in girls’ doubles as well, defending their Pan Am Junior title by beating Sharon Au and Jacqueline Cheung in straight games.

Cheung’s earlier match was the only under-19 final on the day that was not won by a home shuttler.  The girls’ singles title went to Natalie Chi (pictured left) of the United States.  Chi had beaten Wendy Zhang in the mixed team event earlier in the week but then lost to her in the team final.  Zhang lost to Cheung in the individual quarter-finals.

Canada may have dominated the under-19 category, winning 5 of 6 titles, including the mixed team event, but the United States was dominant in both the under-15 and under-13 events, winning 4 of 5 titles in each, with 3 and 4 all-U.S. finals respectively.  Canada won 4 of 5 in the under-17 category and had 5 all-Canadian finals in the under-11 division.

In fact, all the medals at the event went to shuttlers from Canada, the U.S., and Peru.  Fernanda Saponara Rivva won bronze again in girls’ singles and was the only under-19 medallist from outside of the U.S. or Canada.

Click here for complete 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 @ badzine.net