THE brother-sister tandem of Mark Shelley and Malvinne Alcala brought home two gold medals after topping their respective age-groups in the Swiss International Junior Championships in Prilly, Switzerland recently.
The 16-year-old Malvinne topped the girls under-19 division, while the 13-year-old Mark ruled the boys’ 17-under class.
Malvinne drew a bye in the opening round, before defeating French players Anne Tran 21-13, 21-12, and Marie Batomenem, 21-8, 21-5 in succession. She then followed that up with a 21-12, 21-7 thrashing of Natalie Chanlam of England to make the finals.
The promising Filipino shuttlecocker beat out Marie Demy of Belgium for the gold, 21-15, retired as she snatched her second international title this year following the Australian Juniors last May.
Mark needed to survive the qualifying round to earn a card in the tournament proper. But once he was there, the younger of the Alcala siblings proved unstoppable.
He dismissed Davy Buffel of Belgium (21-10, 21-10) and Milan Dratva of Slovakia (21-11, 21-11) to make the main draw, where he beat local bet Eliot Marquis (21-9, 21-12), Tomi Popov of France (19-21, 21-8, 21-14), and Elias Nicolaou of Cyprus (21-16, 12-21, 21-18) one after the other.
In the semis, he downed Maxime Arnalsteen of Belgium, 21-8, 21-17, to set up a title showdown against top seed Sean Vendy of England.
Mark lost the opening round (3-21) against the Englishman, but swept the last two (21-8, 21-12) for his first international crown this year.
“We in the PBA (Philippine Badminton Association) are very happy with the victories by Malvinne and Mark. The extra hardwork the players have been putting are now paying off,” said PBA secretary-general and Bacolod Congressman Albee Benitez when the Alcala siblings, together with foreign coach and Olympic gold medalist Rexy Maniaky of Indonesia, were presented to the media Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial badminton hall.
“We are on track as positive results are coming in. This is the start, and more to come,” added Benitez, who was also joined by former PBA president and now chairman, Amelita Ramos.
Kenneth Monterubio also competed in the same tournament, but was eliminated in the third round of the boys U-19 class – a 11-21, 19-21 loser to Fabian Roth of Germany.