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15 players represent Kauai at pickleball tournament

LIHUE — Kauai was represented by 15 players when the Hawaii Open Pickleball Tournament opened this past weekend at the Holua Tennis and Pickleball Center in Kona.

When the dust settled on the tournament, described as “the largest pickleball tournament ever to be held in the state of Hawaii, that featured more than 320 players, Kauai reaped awards from 14 of its contingent, including seven gold medals.

Brant Fuchigami and Talon Abat found gold in the Mens Doubles, 4.0, 19-plus division. Abat went on to capture bronze in the Mens Singles, 3.5, 19-plus division, and Fuchigami found bronze in the Mens Singles 4.0/4.5, 19-plus class.

Abat also teamed with Sandi Ikeda to find gold in the Mixed Doubles, 3.5, 19-plus class. Ikeda later teamed with Rumi Masumura to find gold in the Womens Doubles, 3.5, 19-plus division.

On the Mixed Doubles, 3.5, 50-plus courts, Juliet Peters teamed with Donny Urabe to find gold in the division.

The duo of Kris Nuding and Julie Martel earned gold in the Womens Doubles, 3.0, 70-plus class, and Juliet Peters teamed with Suzanne Deardoff for gold in the Women’s Doubles, 3.5, 50-plus class.

Lucia Bartels paired with Marsha Kitagawa to round out the gold medal winnings by taking the Womens Doubles, 3.5, 65-plus division.

Rumi Masumura paired with Fujigami for silver in the Mixed Doubles, 4.5, 19-plus category, and Loutoa Zoller teamed with Tiffany Rae for silver in the Womens Doubles, 4.5, 50-plus class.

Jenn Grady paired with Kimi Masumura for silver medal performance on the courts of the Womens Doubles, 3.5, 19-plus courts to round out the silver medal winnings.

The Kauai contingent rounded out the hardware with four bronze medal performances led by Abat and Fuchigami. Ray Bartels teamed with Chet Hunt for bronze on the Senior Mens 4.0, 65-plus courts. Hunt went on to pair with Kris Nuding for bronze in the Mixed Dooubles, 3.0, 70-plus division.

Following the establishment of pickleball on Kauai in April, 2015, the sport on the Garden Island has grown to include more than 300 players, said Jack Hodges, the United States Pickleball Association District ambassador.

“In 2019, we had more than 400 visitors from the mainland who packed their paddles and joined us for play,” Hodges said. “To date, Kauai does not have a permanent, dedicated pickleball venue. If players, families, and visitors want to play pickleball, they have to bring their own nets.”

Hodges said this situation limits the number of people who can play — unless they show up at a facility where someone has set up their personal nets. Kalena Park courts, just marked for pickleball, has nets and supplies available by checking in at Tanaka Store, located across the street from Kalena Park. Space for pickleball play is shared by basketball players.

“We are trying to create at lease one public place on the island where there are permanent courts and nets so anyone can come and play at most any time,” Hodges said.
Source: The Garden Island

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