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Bernardo, Morada shine in Tehran

Filipino duo Christian Bernardo and Alvin Morada displayed impressive form to topple an Indonesian pair and rule the 2023 Iran Fajr International Challenge at the Iran Badminton Federation Sports Hall in Tehran on Sunday.

Bernardo and Morada were simply impressive, booking a 21-16, 21-17 victory over Raymond Indra and Daniel Edgar Marvino of Indonesia in the gold medal match of this tourney that serves as an exposure event for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

Philippine Badminton Association secretary general Epok Quimpo said the victory boosted the Filipinos’ morale heading into the biennial meet set from 5 to 17 May in Cambodia.

“This is a big confidence-builder for the team since it showed that we can beat them,” Quimpo, also the team manager of Ateneo de Manila University men’s basketball team.

“We know that Indonesia and Malaysia are the strong teams in Southeast Asia and they are always in top 10 in the world rankings.”

Quimpo added that the win gave him a reason to be optimistic over their chances in the coming biennial meet.

“This is a good development for the team,” he said.

“I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but I think it’s more that we are satisfied now that we’re able to find ways to beat Southeast Asian teams.”

The road to the gold medal was tough for the Filipino tandem as it swept past Xiaodong Sheng and Hing Long Wong of China, 21-15, 26-24, in the Round of 32 before posting a 20-22, 21-16, 21-13 victory over Arshia Amalkonande and Ali Hayati of Iran in the Round of 16.

The Filipino pair then beat Lwi Sheng Hao and Jimmy Wong of Malaysia in the quarterfinals, 19-21, 21-15, 21-14 before overcoming Teges Satriaji Cahyo Hutomo and Christopher David Wijaya of Indonesia in the semifinals, 21-14, 23-21, to make it to the gold medal round.

Quimpo hopes that Bernardo and Morada’s win will inspire the team to work harder and do better in the upcoming SEA Games.

“I hope it continues and it gives the team and the other players motivation. It can be done,” Quimpo said, adding that the two shuttlers will be coming home this week to prepare for the Philippine Badminton Open from 20 to 26 February in Makati.

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