On the opening night of the 2015 Barbados Badminton Association Senior National Championships at the Wildey Gymnasium there was absolutely no room for error by the defending men’s singles champion Andre Padmore or the No.1 seeded female Tamisha Williams in their quest for dominance as they drew very tough first round opponents in the form of Sabeel Foster and Amanda Haywood respectively.
Last year’s triple crown champion was forced to play last year’s top ranked junior and when the dust finally settled after an intense battle Padmore emerged the victor 21-19, 21-19. It was no easy task as Foster showed no signs of nerves having stepped up to the senior ranks for his first year. In truth, he was the aggressor and dictated the tempo with his power game while unleashing cross court smashes which caught Padmore out of position on numerous occasions.
However, as true champions do, Padmore adjusted to take control and started to vary the pace while Foster’s shot selection became suspect as he no longer exploited the cross court shot which had brought him early success. Both men made full use of the court and within the extremely long rallies each point became crucial as the lead alternated constantly leaving spectators on the edge of their seats. Late in the second game Foster held a 3-point lead, but Padmore leveled the scores at 18 all and then pulled ahead by two at 20-18.
Despite saving one match point, Foster’s dream came to an abrupt halt with a well-placed drop shot which floated over to the left side of his court giving the hard-fought win to Padmore. Padmore will not be able to rest easy as his next opponent is Cory Fanus who also has the ability to pose serious problems to his title defence.
In the only female game contested, the heavy favourite Tamisha Williams drew junior sensation Amanda Haywood fresh off her double triple crown feat during the junior nationals. Unlike Foster, Haywood’s nerves showed as she was somewhat tentative in the early stages of the encounter and Williams seized the opportunity to maintain the pressure throughout and easily took the first game.
Despite being more settled in the second, Haywood still trailed Williams as she used her experience over Haywood to her advantage. However, Haywood hit her stride and seized control to eventually level the match at 17-all and raise the tension in the room. With the pressure turned up, Williams remained relaxed and executed her shots with poise to slam the door on any thoughts of an upset with the 21-11, 21-17 victory.
Women’s singles (QF)
Sabrina Scott def. Chaneice Gordon (Walkover)
Donna Young def. Shamika Blackman (Walkover)
Onika Moe def. Krystal Clarke (Walkover)
Tamisha Williams  def. Amanda Haywood 21-11, 21-17
Men’s singles (Round of 32)
Shae Martin def. Brian Haywood 21-7, 21-7
Andrew Clarke def. Kennie King 21-14, 21-9
Cory Fanus def. Gavin Robinson 21-2, 21-5
Nicholas Sobers def. Jaleel Arthur 21-9, 17-21, 21-18
Jade Browne def. Aslam Bhikha 21-5, 21-4
Kevin Wood def. Kodie King 21-11, 21-4
D’Andre Thorpe def. Andre Woodvine 21-5, 21-9
Men’s singles (Round of 16)
Andre Padmore  def. Sabeel Foster 21-19, 21-19
Cory Fanus def. Michael Bourne 21-5, 21-8
Dakeil Thorpe def. Jade Browne 21-11, 21-3
Damien Howell def. Andrew Clarke 21-13, 13-21, 21-14
Nicholas Sobers def. Mckein John-Knight 21-9, 21-16
Bradley Pilgrim def. D’Andre Thorpe 21-10, 21-12
Shae Martin def. Jehu Gaskin 21-11, 21-13
Kevin Wood def. Keshem Moore 21-12, 21-16