Henry secures crucial points
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Gareth Henry, the country's top-ranked badminton player, ended a three-week tour of the circuit Friday with over 2,000 crucial points towards Rio 2016, qualifying from international competitions in Canadian, Brazilian, and Suriname tournaments, respectively.
Henry easily turned back Jamal Thijssen of Suriname 21-12, 21-12, and 21-12 in his round-of-32 match, then clipped number-four-ranked Andres Corpancho of Peru 2-1 in a hard-fought three-set game in the round of 16. The Jamaican took the first set 25-23, went down 16-21 in the second, but prevailed 21-16 in the final set.
In the quarter-final match-up, number-one-ranked Virgil Soeredjo of Suriname took the first set 22-20. Henry rallied to beat him 21-8 in the second. The Jamaican surrendered the third set 21-16 and was eliminated from the Suriname International.
"This is a match I believe I should have won easily, but bad line calls by the umpire throughout swayed my focus," Henry told The Gleaner.
"I was disappointed with the quarter-final result," he added.
Having beaten a higher-ranked opponent, the player has picked up over 1,000 points for his Rio qualification bid.
The points earned are crucial to Henry's Olympic dream as he is seeking to become the first Jamaican male player to win a place at the Games. He needs a minimum of 900 points per tournament to help him get there, though.
While he achieved just 550 points in his first tournament, which was the Canadian Open in Toronto last month, Henry improved to 920 points at the 29th Brazil International Badminton Cup in Brazil last month.
The player tallied a little over 1,000 points on Friday night in Suriname, courtesy of beating higher-ranked opponents like Andres Corpancho of Peru.