Last weekend in Annecy, the qualifying tournament for the French Elite senior championships was played, which was played in Bordeaux at the beginning of February. Two young hopefuls from Squash Loisirs Balagne were in the running for this competition, Melissa Mebarek, 18 years old and French n°25 senior, and Antonin Romieu, 15 years old and French n°35 senior. In both categories, twelve places allocated to the best French players were already sufficient, so there remained four places at stake this weekend to insert the national top 16.
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Mélissa Mebarek does it again
Melissa Mebarek, recent 6and of the French U19 championships, certainly had a good shot at qualifying. Seeded n°3 in the table, she initially dominated Clermontoise Emma Vassenet (3/0), before playing the decisive match for qualification against the young Breton Hannah Oudinet. Dominating from start to finish, the Balanine signed a clear success in three games 11/7, 11/1, 11/3, which allowed him to win one of the four qualifying places for Bordeaux. Sixteenth last year, she obtained her ticket for this Elite competition for the second consecutive year. The coach of Squash Loisirs, Xavier Romieu told us: ” It’s a great reward for Mélissa, who now combines nursing studies in Nîmes and high-level squash. She will again represent our club, 16and last year, the objective will be to do better. »
Antonin Romieu nearby
At 15 now and senior French No. 35, Antonin Romieu, for his part, continues to shake up his elders. The young Balanin inherited a delicate draw by being opposed from the 1st round to Rochelle’s Ludovic Barraud (French n°27). After a fierce duel of 53 minutes, he snatched the decision in four games and offered himself a new “perf” in the top 30.
There was then one last obstacle to overcome for qualifying, and not the least. Facing the Parisian Joshua Jacques-Phinera, French n°21 and vice-champion of France U23, the task promised to be even more complicated. The young island hopeful threw all his strength into battle, but the bar was a little too high this time. He narrowly failed 8/11, 7/11, 13/15 in his quest for the Holy Grail: “ I was a little shy, because I feared his attacks and his speed of play. As the match progressed, I felt better and better and it’s really a shame that I can’t take the 3and game, because it could have been a great battle at the end of the game. “Now very close to the best seniors, Antonin will have other deadlines in his age category in the months to come.
Fabrice Mattei already qualified
In Bordeaux from February 3 to 6, Melissa Mebarek will be accompanied by Mezzavia player Fabrice Mattei (French No. 14), already qualified for this competition. Two islanders therefore represent Corsica for these championships. This same weekend in Bordeaux will take place the French championships by teams of young leagues U15 years, for which Corsica will align a formation of 5 players from Squash Loisirs Balagne and Borgo. Also League coach, Xavier Romieu continued: “ Unfortunately, given the context, there are very few opportunities for our young people to go and compete on the continent. It will be complicated for us to get a podium against Leagues like New Aquitaine or Ile de France, but we are able to compete with several leagues. The team formula is nice. »