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EGBA pair wins second continental gold

The pair helped SA to its first team gold in 12 years.

Benonians Deidrè Laurens and Amy Ackerman won their second successive women’s doubles gold medal during the All Africa Individual and Team Championships in Egypt on February 18.

The duo beat Ugandans Husina Kobugabe and Gladys Mbabazi in straight sets in the final as they earned 4 000 points for the Road To Paris (RTP) programme in their bid to qualify for the Olympic Games.

They came back from three games down in the first set as the Ugandans started fiercely but were quickly dispatched after the South Africans won nine games on the trot to take control.

Amy Ackerman returns a shot while her partner, Deidrè Laurens, watches in anticipation. Photo: Badminton Confederation Africa

There was never a chance of a comeback from Kobugabe and Mbabazi as the tactical discipline of the Eastern Gauteng Badminton Association (EGBA) pair saw them take the set convincingly by 21-11 for an early lead.

The Ugandans tried to mount a challenge at the start of the second set but stood no chance as Laurens and Ackeman won 21-15 to clinch their second continental title in two years.

Speaking to Badminton Confederation Africa (BCA) TV after the match, Laurens said this win set them up nicely in their march to qualify for the Olympics later this year.

“We are ecstatic. It’s a valuable 4 000 points to us on our Road To Paris. It’s always nice to win a gold medal. We are very happy,” she said.

Team South Africa celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women’s team event. Photo: Badminton Confederation Africa

She added that they stuck to the game plan because they had noticed in previous games that their opponents tried to counter their attacks by tossing the shuttle to their back.

“We always try to get the attack from the middle of the court to the front. We picked up from previous matches that they try to fling us from the back. We pushed them back, too, to enforce the half-court to clear so we could get the attack again,” said Laurens.

SA wins first team gold in 12 years

Caoch Stewart Carson with her champions Amy Ackerman (left), Megan de Beer, Deidre Laurens, Diane, Olivier and Johanita Scholtz.

The SA women came from behind to claim a 3-2 victory over Uganda, helping the country to its first team gold medal in 12 years.

After winning all their round-robin matches and the semi-final, the South Africans were in trouble early in the final when Uganda raced to a 2-0 lead after Mbabzi and Kobugabe beat Laurens and Diane Olivier in the singles.

However, Johanita Scholtz began the fightback in the third singles match with a 21-11, 21-14 victory over Shamika Mohamed before the doubles teams of Laurens and Ackerman and Megan de Beer and Scholtz won two more points to help SA to its sixth title.

Also Read: Deidrè to lead BCA’s Athletes Commission

Also Read: Jordaan and Ackerman claim women’s doubles in Botswana

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