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A FIVE-MEMBER national badminton contingent will fly en route to Queretaro, Mexico, today for the 2014 edition of the Pan American Sports Festival which serves off at the Jose Ma Arteaga Auditorium from Saturday till Monday.

The Festival, which has the participation of several other sports including athletics, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, rowing and weightlifting to name a few, began on July 11 and is scheduled to end on September 30.

The badminton delegation will be sending four of its top athletes which includes two seniors — Keston Friday and Nekeisha Blake — as well as two juniors — Will Lee and Jada Renales. Friday is a former triple crown Under-17 title holder and has won the National Men’s Doubles trophy on three occasions with TT’s top-ranked Men’s Singles player Kerwyn Pantin. Friday is also one of the top Singles players in the country. Meanwhile, Blake is a multiple Women’s Singles title holder and recently won a bronze medal in the Women’s Doubles at the Caribbean Regional Badminton Championships (CAREBACO) with one of the region’s leading athletes, Solangel Guzman.

Additionally, Lee is currently one of the top Under-19 Boys Singles players in the country and also bagged bronze in the CAREBACO Singles. Jada Renales is also one of the nation’s top junior athletes who holds the Under-17 National Singles title. Renales also recently attained silver in the Girls Singles at the regional tourney.

The squad will be lead by national junior coach Derwin Renales.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Sport held a celebratory award function for the returning CAREBACO team. Both the junior and senior teams won silver in the Team events and the overall count of medals from the team was that of 24. This comprised of four gold, ten silver and eight bronze which is the largest haul ever the country has ever had in the sport and at the Tournament. Renales, also president of the TTBA, expressed his gratitude for the recognition and added that even though the sport of badminton achieved such wonderful results without a home for the sport and faced other obstacles, her was indeed satisfied with the efforts that were made by the athletes and staff involved in the preparation for the Tournament and looks forward to many more successes in the near future.

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