Kauai guys compete at World Senior Games

  • Photo courtesy Philip Eliana

    Philip Eliana, left, and Ruben Eliana stop for a photo during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah earlier this month.

  • Photo courtesy Philip Eliana

    From left: Philip Eliana, Ruben Eliana, tournament director Kevin Boerup, Emanuelle Laumatia and Steven Kaui stop for a photo during the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah earlier this month.

The 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games is being held at St. George, Utah from Oct. 8-20. It is an annual multi-sport event for athletes 50 years old and older.

The games features 30 sports with at least 10,000 athletes from about 30 countries.

The racquetball event concluded this past weekend, and four players from Hawaii competed in a field of 131 participants.

Steven Kaui, of Wailua, won gold in racquetball. He teamed up with Manu Laumatia, of Honolulu, and won first place in the age 55+ doubles event.

“I’ve been going to the Huntsman Games for about five years. The last two years, I played softball,” Kaui said. “Last year, we won bronze. The year before that, we won silver in softball. I wanted to come back this year to try racquetball. I also play in the USA Nationals in racquetball. So in the past, I’ve won at nationals a silver medal as well as a bronze medal. You can tell I love the sport. … The competition was excellent. We just played well together. We’re very fortunate that we could pull out a gold medal.”

Kaui also competed in the age 55+ singles event. He made it past the qualifying rounds, but lost in the quarterfinals.

“I was one of the top eight into the championship round, but I couldn’t get into the semifinals. I lost to the player who won the gold medal,” Kaui said. “Sometimes, you get the unfortunate luck of the draw. You get the top eight players you have to play. Unfortunately for me, I got the No. 1 guy. But he’s an excellent player, and it’s well deserved.”

In their second year at the games, brothers Philip and Ruben Eliana played in the singles and doubles events.

“I made it farther this year than last year, which is always a plus. But at the same token, last year we only played in one house. This year, we played in all three different houses,” Philip Eliana said. “I was running all over the place. I’m kind of not used to that. My brother, he played in singles, too. He made the playoff. I didn’t make the main event, but my brother did. He had a bigger pool.”

Philip Eliana is from Hanamaulu. Ruben Eliana is a native of Oahu who now resides in California.

“I play in a lot of tournament. This is really one of the best tournaments,” Philip Eliana said. “It’s competition, but yet it’s seeing people our age and seeing them go after what their dreams are. It’s different from the nationals and all that kind of stuff. It’s all us old geezers, you know what I mean? That’s pretty cool. That’s pretty neat.”

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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