At one point, Norman Christie, bpTT’s Regional President, couldn’t get more than a sentence out about “our band” before the audience exploded into lusty applause and catcalls of appreciation.
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Pantin, Guzman lead T&T to Venezuela
A six-member national badminton team led by Kerwyn Pantin and Solangel Guzman will arrive in Caracas, Venezuela today to compete at the 2014 Venezuela International Tournament from Thursday to Sunday.
Pantin, an eight-time national men’s singles champion, will make a return to the international arena after a four-year absence. Pantin will be joined by Canadian based Nicholas Bonkowsky, who placed second at the National Badminton tournament in April. Pantin will participate in the men’s singles, the men’s doubles with Bonkowsky and the mixed doubles with Nekeisha Blake. Bonkowsky will also feature in the men’s singles and the mixed doubles with Guzman.
The ladies will be represented by the country’s top player Guzman, who is also one of the region’s strongest players. Guzman is the two-time women’s singles defending champion at the Venezuela International. Joining Guzman will be former national champion Blake, who recently made a comeback to the sport after a two-year hiatus due to a knee injury and surgery. Both Guzman and Blake will battle in the women’s singles before teaming up to contest the women’s doubles.
Top players from South America, Central America, Europe and the rest of the Caribbean are expected to compete as international ranking points are up for grabs for the upcoming Olympic Games in 2016.
The T&T players have been involved in intense training, that is being conducted by national head coach Daron Dasent. Dasent will be joined by Melvin Thomas, who will be participating in a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Coaching course. Dasent has participated in BWF courses before and in 2004 was part of the USA High Performance Centre Coaching Course in Colorado Springs. Under Dasent’s coaching expertise, team T&T has won bronze medals at the 2010 team Central American and Caribbean Games and at the 2005 Caribbean Badminton Championships.
Thomas has also been a very instrumental individual to T&T Badminton, having been involved as either a national coach or technical director of the T&T Badminton Association for the past 30 years.