Seniors slam on the pickleball courts

KALAHEO — Cheryl Leines partnered with Ina Blogg to win the opening match of the 4-Team Round Robin competition Thursday at the Kauai Senior Games Pickleball Tournament.

Women’s division play dominated the opening day followed by the mixed division taking the floor Friday. Men’s division play wraps up the three-day tournament that featured 85 doubles teams through the three days.

“Ina is originally from Chicago,” Leines, a player from Hayward, California, said. “She lives on Kauai for three months, and they’re just about getting ready to leave for Chicago.”

Leines said she is one of nine players who came from California to play in the tournament that attracted players from Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, California, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota and Florida.

“This is my first time on Kauai,” Leines said. “Pickleball forced me to come here — a different island. When we first got to Maui, they didn’t even know what pickleball was. Hawaii has come a long way since that first trip. You folks now have an Ambassador. We don’t. This is a really good tournament.”

Melanie Okamoto of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation teamed with Tiffany Rae. Despite a strong effort, dropped their opening round.

“We can’t go far,” Okamoto said. “When they call, we need to be ready or we get penalized.”

Nolan Ahn, a Kauai pickleball player manning the officials table, said action has been furious.

“They’re vicious,” he said. “And the men haven’t hit the courts, yet. They start Friday in the Mmixed division. Then it’s going to get furious.”

There is no admission to view any of the competition which starts at 8 a.m. Vendors offering pickleball material, including paddles, are also available for shopping between matches.

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