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England starlets win European team bronze

The future looks bright for England's young badminton stars after they won bronze at the European U17 Team Championships.

Taking place in Prague, England's shuttlers missed out on a place in the gold medal match by the narrowest of margins, edged out 3-2 by Turkey in the semi-final.

In a fixture that to'd and fro'd, it was Turkey who took the early advantage, Semih Baha Basakin and Bengisu Ercetin needing three games to topple Rory Easton and Hope Warner, eventually prevailing 17-21 21-15 21-18.

But Harry Huang quickly restored parity in the men's singles, cruising to a 21-8 21-18 victory over Sezgin Kelebek.

England's Pamela Reyes put up a remarkable battle against Zehra Erdem but was narrowly defeated 21-16 18-21 21-17 in the women's singles.

England were soon level again when David Hong and Ethan Van Leeuwen triumphed 21-11 20-22 21-17 in the men's doubles over Basakin and Serkan Ugurlu, but Ercetin and Erdem wrapped up the win for Turkey in the women's doubles, defeating Asmita Chaudhari and Annie Lado 21-12 21-12.

It had been a remarkable run to the semi-finals for England, having opened their campaign in the Czech Republic with dominant victories over Portugal and Moldova, followed by a 4-1 win over Moldova to complete the group stage.

They then edged out Russia in the quarter-final to progress to the last four, with Turkey going on to win silver as Denmark clinched the European team title.

Photo: Badminton Photo