NICHOLAS BONKOWSKY slew a giant for his first singles crown and Nekeisha Blake expectedly captured her fifth when the curtain fell on the National Badminton Championships Sunday night at Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Chaguanas.
After both players had sparkled on route to the men’s title match, the clash between Nicholas Bonkowsky and Anil Seepaul was expected to go right down to the wire.
But the five-time national champion, who went in without dropping a set, struggled from the start and was easily beaten 21-14, 21-16 by the Canadian.
Although Anil Seepaul is now 40 years old, he is still playing at a very level and was confident of exacting revenge after squandering an 18-14 lead in the final set and going down in three sets when they clashed in last year’s semifinals.
Bonkowsky, whose mother hails from Trinidad, was then beaten in the final by Kerwyn Pantin in only his second tournament down here, but he got it right in his third on Sunday night.
This was the first national singles final in five year for Seepaul, who had played his other 13 in consective years from 1998 to 2010.
The player from Cristars Club won his five titles in a row from 2000 and has captured several triple crowns in this tournament.
Bonkowsky and Blake were in three finals on Sunday night, but neither managed to achieve their objective.
Blake was actually one win away from the triple crown and combined with the 27-year-old in the mixed doubles final, but the top seeds were beaten 21-18, 21-13 by Alistair Espinoza and national under-17 champ Jada Renales.
Blake had combined with Kerian Quan Chee, the under-19 bronze-medallist in singles, doubles and mixed in the 2005 Caribbean Championships (CAREBACO), a little while earlier to defeat Leanna Castanada and last year’s CAREBACO under-17 singles silver-medallist Renales 22-20, 21-15 in the doubles final.
Blake began the night by whipping Castanada 21-15, 21-10 for the singles title.
It was the first for the player who turns 28 years old next week since she had made it four straight four years ago.
After missing the next two years because of injury, Blake reached the semis when she returned for last year’s edition.
The player from FMT club was not the only one to finish the four-day tournament with a double crown. Espinoza, who was seeded to win singles but went out to Bonkowsky in the quarterfinals. picked up the first of his two titles when he and CAREBACO under-19 bronze-medallist Will Lee defeated the Canadian and 2013 national under-19 champ Jason Ramjass 21-15, 21-19 in the doubles final.
And top seeds Andre Lewis and Derek Singh nosed out former national champ Stephanie Mitchell and Trinidad and Tobago Badminton Association president Derwin Renales 14-21, 21-16, 21-19 to retain their Masters’ (Over-40) crown.
CAREBACO singles gold-medallist Solangel Guzman, a Cuban who is residing here and is in the process of becoming a citizen, did not compete this time after completing a hat-trick of singles titles as well as triple crowns last year.