The core of the Philippine national badminton team, including newly minted Australian junior champion Malvinne Ann Venice Alcala, will spearhead an expected 400-strong field in the Philippine National Open-Ming Ramos Youth Cup Badminton Championships, which fires off today at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
The five-day tournament ending Friday offers a total cash prize fund of over P500,000 with Alcala leading the title chase in the premier division along with fellow Philippine team mainstays Ariel Magnaye, Joper Escueta, Ronnel Estanislao and Paul Vivas, who have undergone the stringent first two weeks of training under top-notch Indonesian coach Rexy Mainaky.
No less than the former Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) president, former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Ramos, will grace the opening ceremony at 8 a.m., followed by registration at the Philippine Sports Commission Badminton Hall inside RMSC.
Also expected to appear in the opening rites are the PBA president, Vice President Jejomar Binay and secretary general, Rep. Albee Benitez. Telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, the PBA chair, has also been invited to attend the ceremonies.
The tournament is sponsored by Victor/PCOME, Binggo Bonanza, Sun Cellular and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Mainaky said he’s expecting his young bunch to display the fruits of their hard work as the team trains three times a day everyday at the newly refurbished Badminton Hall. He added that the national team is given all the food and supplements they needed for their tough training regimen.
Alcala recently won the gold medal in the 2012 Lin-Ning Australian juniors internationals held in Madelay, Western Australia. She beat Indonesia’s Setyana Florencya Mapasa, 22-20, 21-10, in the final match that lasted just 32 minutes.
The 16-year-old most promising shuttler in the country also teamed up with Theodore Christopher Matthew Co to snare the bronze medal in the mixed doubles, beating local pair Daniel Guda and Jennifer Tam (21-9, 21-12) in the quarterfinals.
Co and Mark Alcala, Malvinne’s younger brother, also took the bronze in the men’s doubles after a 21-15, 21-16 victory over Sri Lanka’s Charindu Hapuarchchi and Ravindu Keshan Ranatunga.