Cuban-born local athlete Solangel Guzman-Perez led the way for T&T’s three gold medals at the Venezuela Badminton Internacional 2012 tournament, which concluded yesterday. After her dominant display in the Women’s Singles final, Guzman-Perez paired with Virginia Chariandy-Balwant and two-time defending national men’s champion Rahul Rampersad to seal the Women’s and Men’s Doubles titles, respectively, in the second of the two-day competition. A week after taking silver in the Women’s Singles event at the Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (Carebaco) Championship, in the Dominican Republic, Guzman was unfazed as she eased her way to gold in the same event in Venezuela, with a comprehensive 21-1, 21-8 win over Camila Macaya of Chile.
She has to overcome the challenge of another Chilean, Tingting Chou, in the semifinal, which she did 21-16, 21-14, albeit with more of a challenge. In the Doubles final, Guzman-Perez and Chariandy-Balwant lost the first set to Venezuelan pair Tingting Chou and Camila Macaya but responded well to win the match 15-21, 21-17, 21-17. T&T then took on European opposition in the final of the Mixed Doubles final. Again three sets were required, but the reliable pair of Guzman-Perez and Rampersad overcame the difficult opposition of Spanish pair, Oskar Martinez and Maria Vijande, 23-21, 19-21, 22-20. The hard work paid off a day after Guzman-Perez and Rampersad combined for a 21-16, 21-13 victory over Chile’s Reuben Castellanos and Ana Lucia De Leon in the semifinal. Leana Castanada also represented T&T but was unable to make it past the Women’s Singles event, when she was booted out in three sets by Venezuelan Daniela Araujo, 21-19, 14-21, 22-20.