Kauai shares in pickleball medal count

KALAHEO — Kauai pickleball players took home their share of medals following three days of competition at the first Aloha State Games Senior Olympics Pickleball Tournament that wrapped up late Sunday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

“I won bronze,” said Melanie Okamoto of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “It was hard work coordinating the tournament, but I could play and finished with a bronze. This was a lot of fun.”

Okamoto, teaming with Tiffany Rae in the Women’s Doubles, picked up her bronze medal after climbing back and defeating the team of Patrice Chung and Lori Tokutomi, 15-10 for third place in the 50-59 Women’s Doubles.

She went on to pair with Chris Okamoto in the Mixed Doubles, 50-59 which contested Sunday, but the pair was eliminated following its loss to Kiyo Ota and David Knittle who went on to win the silver medal in that division.

Lucia Bartels of Kekaha said they were thinking about themselves after dropping to the team of Kealani Gillis and Richard Dizon, 11-3, 11-5 in the Mixed Doubles, 60-64 division, Sunday.

“This (sport) is really good,” Lucia, who partnered with her husband Ray, said. “But we’ve only been playing a couple of months and we had a long set to open, so we let them move on. We get to enjoy lunch.”

The Bartels opened with a win over Lois Tiedemann and David Larsen in a three-set match, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 to face the Gillis-Dizon duo. Their second loss came at the hands of Ron Olen and Rosemary Smythe, 15-6 to send the Kekaha couple outside for lunch.

“This is a good sport,” Lucia said. “Someone donated some equipment, including a net and some paddles to Kekaha Elementary School where they want to start getting the students playing.”

The duo of Jimmy and Judy Honda earned silver medal honors in the Mixed Doubles, 60-64 division after dropping to the duo of Nick and Vicki Sharp, 11-4, 11-4 in the finals. Earlier, the Honda duo came back from the consolation bracket to beat the Honolu pair of Richard Dizon and Kealani Gillis, 15-7 and defeated the pair of Bob and Veronica Wilke 11-8, 11-8 to face the Sharps.

Jack Hodges, the US Pickleball Association District Ambassador, State of Hawaii-West Region, also picked up silver medals, getting a silver medal in the Men’s Doubles, 65-plus division after pairing with Chris Thomas and getting past the duo of Don Miyasaki and Ron Yoshimoto, both of Fresno, California, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6.

However, because this was Miyasaki and Yoshimoto’s first loss in the bracket, they faced each other in the finals with Miyasaki and Yoshimoto prevailing, 15-5 for the gold medal.

Hodges partnered with Stephanie Sunn, Sunday for the Mixed Doubles, 65-plus where the pair struck gold following a 15-11 win over the pair of Katy Yonemura and Jeff Louie. Bronze medal honors went to the pair of Julie Tobin and Don Miyasaki who earlier captured gold in the Men’s Doubles.

The Aloha State Games Senior Olympics Pickleball Tournament was sponsored by the County of Kauai, the state Department of Health, Kuhio Auto Group, Wilcox Health, Kauai Kookie, American Medical Response, and a host of pickleball organizations.

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