The XI World Junior Padel Championship Opening Ceremony saw all the teams parade into the El Candado Beach Club arena, with national flags held aloft as the sun began to set.
GB Team Captain and SIS D2 student Frankie Batt was honoured to say the players’ oath in English at the ceremony, whilst Spain’s number one did the same in Spanish. Then the teams from all over the World took part in a multinational team hugs world record attempt on the beach
Great Britain Junior Padel Team gives stunning performances at World Championship
Play began on Monday with the Open Competition in the morning and Boys Team competition in the afternoon. Ex-SIS student Sean Neave and his partner Sam Jones won their match, as did Frankie and his partner Alfonso Patacho. SIS M3 students Ben Burgess and Henry Marais playing in their first ever Championship match lost to an amazing Spanish pair. In the girls Under 14 Open M3 student Tilly Payne, and ex SIS student Charlotte Brien were also beaten, but put on a great show for GB.
Both the boys and girls had tough draws in the Team competition, with the boys having to play Portugal and Mexico, and the girls Portugal and Spain, who are the current World Champions. In the Boys Team event that afternoon Ben Burgess and partner Miguel Patacho began well against Portugal, but eventually lost 6 – 4, 6 – 1 to a more experienced Portuguese pair. The Under 16s Sean Neave and Louie Harris and the Under 18s Frankie Batt and Sam Jones also lost, meaning GB would have to win the match against a strong Mexican team the following day to have any chance of qualifying from their group.
Playing the World Champions
The next day there were further wins at Under 18 and Under 16s for the boys in the Open Competition, and in the girl’s event, the Under 16s won as well.
The Girls Team competition began with Tilly and Charlotte facing the current World Champions in a court packed around with spectators and TV cameras! The girls did their best and were cheered by everyone when they won a point, but were overpowered by the amazing Spanish pair. The Under 16 and Under 18 girls also made GB proud, but the Spanish team are absolutely brilliant, and a real privilege to play against.
The boys then faced Mexico, who they had to beat to have a chance of a medal. It didn’t begin well with Ben and Miguel playing an Under 14 pair who hadn’t dropped a game. They lost 6 – 0, 6 – 0, so Sean and partner Louie had to win… They did it in two sets, 6 – 2, 7 – 6 (tie break) with an amazing performance.
So it was all down to the last match – Frankie and Sam had to play Mexico’s number one player and his partner. The quality of the padel was fantastically high, and the match turned into an amazingly tense three-set battle. GB lost the first set in a tie-break, but in a nail-biting end to the match won it 6 – 2, 6 – 3. A magnificent performance by Frankie and his partner Sam meant GB boys went through second in their group, and face Hosts and current World Champions Spain.
The girls’ match against team Portugal was mixed with the Under16 pair Tia and Zuzkita winning their match, but the Under 14 and Under18s losing. This means they faced USA next, who they beat, so ended up playing Belgium for 7th place on the last day. After fantastic performances from all the team, they lost the match in the third set of the Under18 game, so are placed 8th in the world.
The boys had a really tough time against Spain. They played on the main show court, against the best in the world, sadly losing all three matches but performing at a really high level. They then met Uruguay very late on Friday night, beating them in some very tense matches. The final day of the Championship they played Brazil, losing two matches to one, and ending up 6th in the world.
El mundo unidos por el deporte
The motto of this Championship is ‘El mundo unidos por el deporte’ – ‘The World united by sport’. All the teams taking part have shown the utmost respect for each other on the court and been sociable and helpful off it. Worldwide friendships were made between countries’ players, coaching staff and supporters. It is a truly amazing experience for everyone.
The GB Junior Padel team would like to thank their coach Mauri Andrini, and his assistant Christian Medina Murphy, British Padel, and all their partners and sponsors for their support throughout the Championship. Thank you to:
Our Partners: Adidas, Babolat, and Padel Shack
Our Sponsors: La Reserva Sotogrande, Sotogrande International School, Bristow Property Group – Sotogrande, Abbeygate Insurance, Tailor Made Healthcare Solutions, and Udesign.
Some pictures courtesy of Vamos Padel & British Padel