By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
RAFU STAFF WRITER
A weekend trip to the City of Orange proved successful for Yorba Linda’s Frances Fujinami and Fumiko Nakae of Las Vegas. The pair were competing individually and as a team at the 2009 Senior International Badminton Championships, at the Orange County Badminton Club.
Playing in the 80+ combined age division, Fujinami and Nakae overcame a loss in the fi rst round after Nakae suffered a calf cramp, and won their next two matches to take home the silver medal. They swept past Virginia Chariandy-Badlwant and Ann Gonsalvez in the consolation game to take second place.
Nakae regretted the earlier cramping, saying they could have otherwise beaten the eventual gold medalists, Silvia Jimenez and Joy Kitzmiller.
“We lost the gold because of my injury, so I feel pretty bad about that,” she said.
Nakae is back competing after being sidelined for nearly five years with a severe back strain. Her coach, Phillip Song, said that while her skills have suffered during the lay off, her quickness and intuitiveness are valuable assets to her game.
Meanwhile, Fujinami took home the gold medal in mixed doubles with partner Ignatius Rusli and Nakae took home the bronze in women’s singles.
On the men’s side, Junichi Kasuga of New York won the bronze medal in the men’s 40+ division.
The event was held in conjunction with the 2009 U.S. Open Grand Prix Championships, which featured many of the world’s best players, including Taufi k Hidayat of Indonesia, China’s Gao Ling and Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach of the United States.