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Pathway appointment points to bright English badminton future

Two significant appointments to the national coaching set-up are being viewed as another critical piece of the jigsaw secured as English badminton heads into a bright new era with changes coming to both the national coaching team and also the junior pathway.

Graham Hurrell, who as Head Pathway Coach has successfully overseen the re-build of the talent pathway, will move into the senior set up working as new national coach under Head Coach Peter Jeffrey.

For the past two years, Hurrell has laid solid foundations which have already proved medal winning at junior level.  

Those building blocks will be progressed by Justine Willmott who makes the move from British Canoeing to join as new Pathway Manager on 1 October

Willmott, who for 25 years lived the values of the English badminton elite set up both as a player and then as a former World Futures Head Coach (U17 to U23), has been Sprint Team Manager at British Canoeing where she has overseen the world class performance programme on the Tokyo 2020 pathway.

Willmott returns with an excellent track record of high performance talent development.

Innovative in nature, she has worked as Talent and Coaching Performance Manager at the British Paralympic Association, amongst other roles in the top echelons of elite sport.

Jon Austin, Performance Director at Badminton England, said of Willmott’s appointment: “I am really pleased that Justine will be re-joining the team. She has amassed a wealth of experience from across the British high performance system and also has a lifelong passion for badminton - an invaluable combination.”

Willmott will head up a team of three Assistant Pathway Coaches which now includes eight-time national champion Julia Quinn (formerly Mann) alongside Kat Hurrell. A further Assistant Pathway Coach will be announced in due course.

“To have three highly skilled woman, right at the very top end of the sport in this country can only further benefit the system longer term.” Austin added.

“The three, in their own ways, can serve as inspirational role models for English badminton’s next generation of stars.”

Significantly, it is testimony to the great work English badminton has done within the women’s coaching provision over recent years.

Speaking on returning to the badminton fold, Willmott said: “I am delighted to be making a return to Badminton England.

“Having worked in Performance Leadership and Management positions for the last 15 years since retiring from badminton, I am really looking forward to coming back to the sport and to be able to use my experience and learnings to further develop and progress the pathway for our players.”