Junior March 2023 1200

5 April, 2023

A busy month of junior action saw English players bring home medals from the OLIVER U17 Czech International. 

Among the star performers in Cesky Krumlov was James Song, who was triumphant in both the boys’ doubles and mixed doubles events.

Song and partner David Ng were unseeded in the men’s doubles event but progressed all the way to the final, where they faced second seeds Marek Sepela and Adam Srnec.

The English duo comfortably beat the home favourites 21-18 21-9 to take gold, and they were not the only pairing to make a strong run through the draw.

Also unseeded, Edward Davey and Sonish Hathi reached the last four before a loss to Sepela and Srnec.

Elsewhere, Song and Sofie Chong claimed the mixed doubles title.

The duo were unseeded but made it through to the final and took home the gold medal after top seeds Luca-Stefan Pandele and Denisa-Maria Muscalu of Romania withdrew.

Chong and Lucy Brierley were second seeds in the women’s doubles draw and won a bronze medal following a successful campaign.

The duo reached the semi-final stage without dropping a game before falling to third seeds – and eventual champions – Oleksandra Botsman and Daria Koshechkina of Ukraine in the last four.

It was a successful week for the junior squad, with strong representation in all five disciplines.

March 2023 Junior in body

Team coach Hayley Adcock said: “The Czech U17 was a great tournament for our English players, they got exposure to some players they hadn’t previously seen before.

“As coaches, we were extremely busy supporting players across the three days, coaching 25 matches on the Friday across three rounds which showed the success of the players.

“The players all performed really well and it was a brilliant opportunity to bring some medals back home – which some of the players did.

“A huge well done to everyone for their efforts, a lot of learning can be taken forward to future competition and congratulations to those on the medals coming back to England.”

English youngsters also took part in the YONEX Dutch Junior Open and YONEX German Junior 2023, two of the most prestigious events on the junior tour.

They are also considered some of the toughest events on the Badminton Europe circuit, providing important exposure to English players to not only the best players in Europe, but also from Asia.

Among the standout performers was Ben Hammond, who reached the fourth round at the Dutch Junior Open in Haarlem.

After an opening round victory, Hammond shocked seventh seed Noah Haase in the second round before eventually being beaten by tenth seed Lau Jun Hui Marcus.

Elsewhere, the Discover Squad had the opportunity to watch the very best in the world play at the YONEX All England Open in Birmingham.

Players watched and analysed matches with the support of the Coaching Team of Hayley Adcock, Chris Tonks and Nicky Cerfontyne, and also enjoyed several of the activities on the concourse.

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