World Junior Champs van Leeuwen Curtin 1200x410 1

November 4, 2022

As we head towards winter and the end of the calendar season our junior pathway players have had another busy month both on and off the court.

The World Championships took centre stage at the back end of October, with a number of England’s best young shuttlers shining against the rest of the world.

Here is a round-up of the last month:

World Junior Championships

Lisa Curtin and Estelle Van Leeuwen produced the standout performance as England’s future stars took to the court for the individual event of the BWF World Junior Championships.

Many of those in action in Santander had also taken part in the team event the previous week, where the squad finished seventh. And they carried that good form into week two.

Curtin and Van Leeuwen reached the fourth round of the girls’ doubles, beating Chinese duo Luo Yi and Wang Yi Duo 21-18 15-21 21-16 in an epic, before losing a tense three-setter to Rui Kiyama and Kanano Muroya of Japan.

The epic contest lasted 59 minutes before the Japanese 15th seeds finally triumphed 21-18 22-24 21-13.

Speaking on their performance, national pathway coach and team manager for the tournament in Spain, Kat Hurrell, said: “Those two enjoyed a fantastic couple of matches.

“I think they’ve had a pretty tough run, coming up against a really good Chinese pair, but they showed real resilience and ability to bring a great level both days, playing two hour-long matches, it’s not easy when you’re playing at the top level.

“Of course, they wanted to try and progress in the tournament, but really it’s about seeing where we are against these top pairs and how we can compete.

“Both girls showed that they’re up there, able to compete with the best.”

Discover Training Day

Following the World Junior Championships, on Sunday October 30 a number of players headed to the University of Nottingham for a Discover Training Day.

The session was led by coach and former international player Hayley Adcock who put the young shuttlers through their paces.

It also included a presentation by parents from the Working With Parents In Sport group, focused on helping parents and coaches work together to provide youngsters with the best possible sporting experiences.

Adcock said: “All the players here seemed to have really engaged with the seminar and said it was a fantastic experience.”

YONEX German Ruhr Under-15 International

Maria Mitchell produced an excellent week of badminton to top the women’s singles podium at the German Ruhr U15 International.

The second seed triumphed in Mülheim after two days of intense competition, culminating in a straight sets win over a home favourite.

Talented young German Lisa Paula Bonnemann was beaten 21-12, 21-6 in the final by a dominant Mitchell.

The English shuttler had already swept aside France’s Neela Lengue Te in the semi-final, 21-13, 21-9, not dropping a game on her entire run to glory by the river.

It’s another sign of the 14-year-old going from strength to strength, having already won gold medals at higher age categories including an under-17 girls’ doubles title at the Estonian Youth International.

VICTOR Denmark Junior

There was further English success in October when under-17 player Dillon Chong claimed men’s singles gold at the Denmark Junior event.

Over the two-day tournament in Langeskov, Chong had to battle hard to reach the final.

The young shuttler was twice pushed to three sets, coming back against Denmark’s Lasse Linderoth Pedersen in the round of 16 from a game down.

He then managed to edge out Dutchman Mats Duwel in a mammoth quarter-final, losing the second game 25-23 before eventually prevailing, 22-20, 23-25, 21-17.

Chong then produced a performance beyond his years in the final to get past Ethan Bissay, after a 21-15, 21-6 victory over the 15th seed from France.

Considering this was his sixth match in just two days it was a highly impressive week for Chong, who also won bronze at the Polish open the previous month.

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