Chloe Dennis 1200

31 August, 2023

Oliver Butler picked up two silver medals at the Danish Junior Cup in what was a busy month for our junior players, with multiple events across the continent.

Action started at the European Junior Championships in Vilnius, where our ten-strong team secured second place in their pool in the team competition before individual competition got underway.

That was followed by Junior Cup action in Denmark, where Butler finished on the podium in the mixed and men’s doubles, while Leona Lee and David Ng also starred on their way to singles finals.

Here’s our round-up of the best of junior action across August. 

U17/U19 Danish Junior Cup

Oliver Butler’s runs were among the highlights of U17 and U19 Danish Cup action, with several English players competing in Copenhagen across the two age-group tournaments towards the end of August.

Butler and Chloe Dennis were second seeds in the mixed U19 competition and fell in a thrilling final to Calvin Lundsgaard and Anna Klausholm, the Danish duo prevailing 21-19 19-21 21-19.

Later on that day, after a similarly successful run, Butler picked up a second silver medal alongside Jia Bin Lee in the men’s doubles, beaten 21-12 21-13 by David Eckerlin and Simon Krax of Germany.

Eckerlin and Krax had previously beaten Robin Harper and Harry Wakefield in the last four, the English pairing – seeded third – falling 21-11 21-19 to the Germans.

There was also a further silver medal won by Leona Lee, beaten 21-18 21-13 by India’s Naishaa Kaur Bhatoye in a battle of the top two seeds in the women’s singles final.

It was still a strong week for second seed Lee, however, having not dropped a game in her way to the final – including a 21-8 21-18 win over compatriot Lila Dundas in their round of 16 clash.

After competing at the U17 European Championships earlier in the month, David Ng starred as he reached the final of the U17 men’s singles.

Seeded fifth, Ng beat top seed and compatriot Sonish Hathi from a game down in the last eight, before overcoming home favourite Mikkel Eilersen Bouet in the last four.

He was then defeated in the final by another Dane in the form of Philip Kryger Boe, losing 21-7 21-13, though it was still an hugely encouraging week for the English shuttler.

Alongside reaching the last eight in the singles there was also a strong run for Hathi in the mixed doubles, alongside partner Rajvi Parab.

Hathi and Parab defied their unseeded status to progress all the way to the last four, where they competed well in a 18-21 21-12 21-13 loss to home pair Saxo Norman and Nicoline Tang.

Full results from the U17 event can be found here, while U19 results can be found here.

U17 European Championships

England sent a ten-strong team to the U17 European Team and Individual Championships in Vilnius from 4-12 August, led by coach Kat Hurrell.

In the team competition, England picked up a narrow 3-2 win over Israel to start their campaign, before a dominant 5-0 win over Italy.

That meant a tough tie against top seeds Ukraine was to decide who progressed to the knockout stages, and ultimately the England team were defeated 5-0, though it was still a positive start to action in Lithuania overall.

In the ensuing individual competitions, David Ng and James Song spearheaded English interest as they reached the quarter-final of the boys’ doubles in the Lithuanian capital.

Dropping just one game on their way to the last eight, Ng and Song fell 21-4 21-15 to French pair Ewan Goulin and Swann Hardi in their quarter-final encounter.

Edward Davey and Sonish Hathi also reached the round of 16 of doubles, while Sia Pandit reached the last 16 in her singles campaign before tasting a 21-9 21-11 loss to fifth seed Siofra Flynn of Ireland.

A full rundown of the team competition can be found here, while a review at the individual event can be found here

Progress and Engage Camp

The NBC welcomed the Progress and Engage squad over the 15-18th August. The programme was led by Kat Hurrell, supported by knowledge and experience of a number of coaches from the network across the four days.  

For singles group there was also a focus on below tape skills and blocking with control and turning in defence, while for doubles, the key themes were maintaining pressure from net and mid with control and patience, along with dealing with pressure in defence.

Progress Camp 1200

Off court, Strength and Conditioning lead Kathryn Canham put the players through a 30:15 test, whereby the new minimum standards introduced for this Programme year were monitored and with further testing taking place during the year.  

In addition to this, all players attended workshops from our Performance Lifestyle practitioner Clare Stacey, Nutritionist Jordan Liggins on fueling for training and competition, and from our Safeguarding Team, Victoria Brown and Angela Toon.

 It was a productive and busy week for the juniors and all the coaches involved with a lot of hard work put in by the whole group, and further camps for this group are scheduled during September and October to build on the sessions completed this month.

U19 Bulgarian Junior

Dillon Chong was the sole English player to compete at the Bulgarian Junior Open Championship in Pazardzhik from 3-6 August.

Seeded fifth in U19 singles action, Chong started his campaign with a battling 21-19 8-21 21-13 win over Welsh player and doubles partner Harper Leigh, before falling in a 17-21 21-17 24-22 epic to Ireland’s Dylan Noble.

After their round one singles clash, Chong and Leigh joined forces on the doubles court and were in fine form in their opening round, easing past home pairing Vasilen Galabov and Kristian Pashov – dropping just seven points.

And, despite defeat, they performed well in their quarter-final, a 21-16 21-16 loss to top seeds Hrvoje Mavriček and Roko Pipunić of Croatia.

Performance Hubs launched

Badminton England is pleased to be supporting the set-up of two new ‘Performance Hubs’ from September 2023 – one in the north and one in the south of the country, with the aim to expand on these over the next few years to provide more access to more players from local regions (primarily U15-U19 age groups), to train regularly together.

These Hubs will provide an opportunity for small groups of the best junior players (EJPP and identified players) to access additional high-level weekly training and match play on a regular basis, up to a maximum of twice per week.

As a Programme, we want to provide support for an increase in weekly training, with delivery of high quality and intense sessions, where players are committed and bring a great work ethic in order to reap the benefits.

The Performance Hub sessions will be part-funded by the Performance Programme and will be ‘invitation only’ sessions to identified players, aiming to provide additional quality weekly training hours where this can be fitted into player’s weekly schedules.

More information can be found here.

Progress Camp imagery courtesy of Alan Spink

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