England returned from Switzerland after collecting a bumper haul of medals in the 7th European Badminton Championships for the Disabled.
Kent pair Ollie Clarke and Andrew Martin were the biggest English success stories of the European Badminton Championships for the Disabled in Switzerland. They teamed up to take Gold in the Dwarf Men’s Doubles, winning all 3 group games to squeeze Devon’s Krysten Coombs and Ireland’s Niall McVeigh into Silver medal position. Shaun Dunford and Jack Gambrill also claimed 3rd place for England. Clarke then really made it a weekend to remember by beating Ireland’s Niall McVeigh to claim the Men’s Singles in a thrilling finale; 21-19, 15-21, 21-19.
Antony Forster, below (Avon) was the weekend’s other English Gold medallist, triumphing in the STU5 Men’s Doubles alongside German partner Frank Deitel. After topping their group without dropping a game, they overcame a German/Russian pair in the semi-final 21-12, 21-10, before wrapping up the Gold with a win over Turkish pair Eser and Tuzcu 21-11, 21-17.
There was further English success in the STL3 Men’s Singles. Bruno Forbes and Daniel Lee (both Middlesex) both qualified for the Semi-Finals where they faced each other, Lee triumphing 21-19, 21-13. However, Lee had to settle for Silver, losing to Israeli number 1 seed Oded Habshish 21-19, 21-9.
Gobi Ranganathan (Herts) performed well to make the quarter-finals of the Wheelchair Class 3 Men’s Singles, but fell to the Spanish Number 1 Jose Guillermo Lama in a tense clash which finished 13-21, 19-21. Ranganathan fared better in his less favoured event, the Men’s Doubles, before eventually having to settle for a Silver medal. Partnering the Dutch player Marcel Smouters, they overcame pairs from Israel, Switzerland and Spain but could not defeat top seeded Israeli pair Levy and Shefanya, losing out 8-21, 11-21 to leave them in second place in the group.
BADMINTON England’s Disability Manager Tom Webster was delighted with the performances of the English contingent, “I have seen the levels of hard work put in by the English players in the run-up to this tournament. The medals that they have brought home are testament to their commitment and skill. As we work to achieve Paralympic inclusion in 2016, the fact that we have several European Champions is really encouraging.”