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Pan-American Games: Canadians Gain 5 Finals; USA Gain= s 3

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Ontario (Canada) agents - SHAH Enterprises **

July 27, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Players from host country Canada today booked places in all 5 badminton finals at the thirteenth edition of the quadrennial Pan-American Games now underway in the city of Winnipeg in the Canadian province of Manitoba and guaranteed themselves of at least a silver medal in each of the sport's five events. Three entries from the U.S.A. also won their semifinal matches today to gain spots in tomorrow's gold medal matches.

The Canadians are actually certain of 1999 Pan-American Games badminton g= old medals in women's doubles and mixed doubles with all the finalists in both of these events wearing the Canadian colors.

In today's women's singles semifinals, Charmaine Reid of Canada beat team= mate Kara Solmundson 3-11, 11-4 and 11-9 while Yeping Tang of the U.S.A. defeated 1995 gold medalist Denyse Julien of Canada 13-11 and 11-8.

In the men's doubles final four matches, top seeds Howard Bach and Mark M= anha of the U.S.A. fought back after dropping the first set and defeated Mike Beres and Bryan Moody of Canada 10-15, 15-6 and 15-8 in a battle of high-leaping smashers, while Canadian champions Brent Olynyk and Iain Sydie trounced Lius Lopezllero and Bernardo Monreal of Mexico 15-6 and 15-7.

In the men's singles semifinals, Stuart Arthur of Canada defeated Olympic scholarship holder Mario Carulla Schultz of Peru 15-4 and 15-9, while second seed Kevin Han of the U.S.A. beat Pedro Yang Ruiz of Guatemala 15-3 and 15-1= 3.

In women's doubles, top seeds Milaine Cloutier and Robbyn Hermitage of Ca= nada eliminated Adrienn Kocsis and Doriana Rivera of Peru 15-8 and 15-4, while second seeds Denyse Julien and Charmaine Reid, another Canadian pairing, put out Stefanie Westermann and Kathy Zimmerman of the U.S.A. 15-7 and 15-8.

In mixed doubles, the second-seeded Canadian pair of Brent Olynyk and Rob= byn Hermitage defeated Chris Hales and Yeping Tang of the U.S.A. 15-8 and 15-3, while Canadian champions Iain Sydie and Denyse Julien, the third seeds, demolished the Peruvian combination of Mario Carulla Schultz and Adrienn Kocsis 15-3 and 15-3.

In the Arthur-Carulla Schultz men's singles contest, the Canadian Arthur banked on his well-disguised overhead stroke, his excellent court coverage and defense that frustrated Carulla Schultz into several errors, and his patience at rallying, attacking only when he had maneuvered his foe into a poor position. In the first game, Arthur overwhelmed the Peruvian and won th= e set 15-4. In the second canto, the Canadian was bothered by the drift that, according to several competitors, drives the shuttle faster at the player facing the stands.

The drift played havoc with Arthur's timing and he fell behind 1-7 as he made several errors and misplayed some shots. At this juncture though, Arth= ur settled down and began to play as he had in the first game. He caught up to Carulla Schultz at 8-all and reached match point at 14-9 when the Peruvian lifted a return of serve wide. In the next rally, the young Canadian scored the match winner when he pressured Carulla and the Peruvian player fired a drive shot into the net.

Arthur, who was not in the original list of competitors but who was enter= ed by the Canadian badminton association as a replacement for qualifier William Milroy, was so enthused by his semifinal win and certain silver medal that h= e unfurled a large Canadian flag and wrapped it around himself in celebration.=

In the Han-Yang Ruiz men's singles semifinal, Han was an easy winner in t= he first game but, like Arthur, was affected in the second set by the fast drif= t in his direction. The American also seemed to lose his focus and made uncharacteristic error after error. Yang Ruiz was able to take a 5-2 lead before Han bore down.

The American's smashes began to fly faster and his net spinners began to tumble more. Han soon caught up to Yang Ruiz at 7-all and he then raced away to a 12-7 advantage. Han though made some errors at this juncture and Yang Ruiz came back with some good smashes and dropshots to tie the score at 13-all.

Han broke out of the tie when Yang Ruiz sent a crosscourt jumpsmash wide.= The American was now at match point 14-13. In the next exchange, Han struck a delayed half-drive to Yang Ruiz's forehand back corner. The Guatemalan was wrong-footed by Han's deceptive shot. He had began to move to the net in anticipation of a net tumbler. He now had to quickly change direction and scramble back to reach the shuttle. He was too late though and was not able to strike the shuttle back into play.

There were some heated moments in the all-Canada women's singles semifina= l between Charmaine Reid and Kara Solmundson. Solmundson who hails from Winnip= eg and who had many supporters in the stands had taken the first set easily at 11-3. In the second, Reid had countered with an almost similiar 11-4 win.

In the decider, Reid took an early 4-0 lead with aggressive play. Solmund= son staged a fightback and pulled even at 6-all, but a scoring killshot got Reid back ahead 7-6. Two mistakes by Solmundson placed Reid further ahead 9-6.

Solmundson fought back again, spurred on by cheers of encouragement from = her supporters. She got a point back with a rally-ending net tumbler. After Reid had gained matchpoint when she pressured Solmundson into spinning a netshot out of bounds, the player from Winnipeg scored twice more.

As Solmundson was mounting her comeback, Reid kept asking for a change in shuttles. Solmundson refused and the umpire backed her, after inspecting the shuttle. The tournament referee was even called in but Reid was unable to convince the officials to force a shuttle change.

After several scoreless service turns while the shuttle controversy raged= on and unsporting words uttered and clenched fists thrust in the air after each rally, Reid finally claimed victory when she blasted a crosscourt smash winner.


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