With the Olympic squad on rest ahead of the qualifying events in the run up to Tokyo, our young England squad stepped up to get what was for many, a first cap and competition back in the European Mixed Team Finals in Finland this week. With each point these youngsters play on the European and World stage they are picking up great ways to build upon their grounding in the professional game of Badminton.
Having played a prominent role in England’s qualification run in Milton Keynes, young women’s singles player Freya Redfearn secured a win on matchday two. The 20-year-old defeated Nadia Choukri of the Netherlands 21-12 21-6 in a one-sided affair lasting just 25 minutes.
Having missed out on the first matchday vs Russia, Redfearn was then unfortunate to lose in three sets on matchday three on Thursday. Marie Batomene, five years her senior and 168 ranking positions higher than Redfearn was taken to three sets by our English star.
Redfearn’s world ranking of 227th is surely soon set to rocket skywards on what we have seen from her this week!
Freya Redfearn said: “It felt really good being back on court again and showed me how much I miss competing! It’s always a proud moment representing England and I’m so pleased I could get the win for the team. I really enjoyed the whole experience this week.”
In the first match of matchday three for England, Johnnie Torjussen beat Frenchman Christo Popov 21-18 14-21, 26-24 in a real thriller in Vantaa. The University of Nottingham student took 65 minutes to eventually topple the left-hander in a titanic battle livestreamed across the Badminton world.
Ranked 77th in the world, the 18-year-old Popov, who was actually born in Sofia, Bulgaria provides a real coup for 21-year-old Torjussen to have overcome. A victory he will take great confidence from for future tournaments.
Johnnie Torjussen said: “It was great to compete at this level for the first time and also to get a win. It’s hard to judge your progress when all you can do is train so coming here was an amazing opportunity to test that progress.”
Siblings Ethan and Estelle van Leeuwen both got their first caps for England this week. Ethan teamed up with Rory Easton in the men’s doubles and Estelle played one women’s singles match against experienced Russian 21st ranked Evgeniya Kosetskaya.
Photo credit: badmintonphoto