Our squad are delighted to have the chance to play some competitive Badminton again in the upcoming European Mixed Team Championships. Competing for the title of ‘European Champions’, the European Mixed Team Championships officially crowns the best national team from the eight best in Europe.
Following qualification rounds in December 2020 which saw a round hosted in our very own Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes, the Finals kick off this week in Vantaa, Finland from the 16th-20th February. Finland has never before hosted a major Badminton Europe event, the 2011 European Junior Championships being the otherwise highest-level tournament in recent years.
Ville Valorinta, secretary general of Badminton Finland stated how "this is a perfect kick-start for our new strategy which aims at developing the visibility and popularity of badminton in Finland, and organising major international tournaments is a key part of that plan.”
With group matches taking place over the first three days and the semi-finals and final being played the following two days, it’s all to play for as a young England squad hope to make their mark in Europe.
Some of the players competing this week, like so many in our badminton community in England, have been unable to get on court in a competitive sense for almost a year. Instead, they have been switching their sessions on court to training in their gardens.
For Max Flynn, Matt Clare, Callum Hemming, Johnnie Torjussen, Estelle Van Leeuwen and Annie Lado this will also be their first cap for England so this will be an extra special reward for all their hard work to get back on court with a vengeance.
National Pathway Coach Graham Hurrell has reflected on this squad announcement:
“Having not had many tournaments in the last year all the players are very excited to get to a tournament next week and compete.
“As the Olympic squad are recovering and preparing for the rest of the qualification period we are taking a very young team.
“Our approach is to try and give all players a match to give them an opportunity to play. This will be the first caps for many of the squad going. It will be a very good learning opportunity to play against three very strong teams.
“We have recently changed quite a lot of partnerships around at what is a very common time do so in the Olympic cycle. This means because of world rankings we cannot put the new pairings in these team matches so we will have to put some old partnerships together and some scratch partnerships together for this event only.”
Follow all the action on www.badmintoneurope.tv and stay tuned to Badminton England’s website and social media pages for our tournament wrap and look ahead to the Swiss Open which is being held from the 2nd of March.
Extraneous info: Sean and Ben in January became first English men’s doubles pair to reach the semi-finals of a World Tour final! Defeated World No.6s having earned a place in World Tour Finals for 1st time (Bangkok)