27 November, 2023
Chloe Dennis revelled in doubles gold delight at the U19 English National Championships 2023 as up-and-coming shuttlers from across the country battled it out for a junior title.
The badminton ace partnered Oliver Butler in the mixed doubles and Lila Dundas in the women’s doubles, coming out on top in both on a stellar final day in Milton Keynes.
Alongside Butler, Dennis stormed through to the final with convincing wins, meeting second seeds Robin Harper and Lucy Brierley in the showpiece.
The mixed doubles final was a tight affair, with Butler and Dennis taking the first game 23-21 followed by a victory-clinching 21-15 win in the second.
Dennis matched those heights in the women’s doubles alongside Dundas.
The duo overcame a tough duel against Lucy Dodd and Matilda Franklin 22-20 21-18 to advance into the semi-finals and were met with a similarly difficult task against women’s singles finalists and sisters Rajvi and Tashvi Parab (23-21 21-15).
Coming up against Lucy Brierley and Sofie Chong in the final, they flew to gold with a 21-14 21-8 win.
On the pair’s women’s doubles win, Dennis said: “It was a bit of a slow start, it was quite close and tense.
“We were a bit nervous but then as we got into the game, we got more relaxed and got more into it and it ended up being quite comfortable, we felt on top and played well so it was really good.”
Elsewhere, in the women’s singles final, Tashvi Parab beat sister Rajvi to claim the U19 national title, winning 19-21 21-11 21-6 in a three-game thriller.
Tashvi cruised to the semi-final and overcame Dundas 21-9 15-21 21-13 to reach the family affair final.
She said: “It’s the first time we’ve ever played each other but she played incredibly well and I had to bring out my best game to beat her.
“The match went well, the first game was a little bit shaky but I found my level in the second and third.”
Image: Action Photography
In the men’s single, Felix Wright claimed victory over top seed Michael Pang, taking a 21-15 21-19 win in the final.
The National Championships presented the final opportunity for Wright to claim a junior title as he eyes senior success over the next 12 months.
“I knew it was going to be tough and physical, Michael is a physical player so first set was just go out there, play my game and set my pace,” he said.
“My goals now are to transition into senior badminton properly, play some international and national tournaments and just get as good as I can.”
In the men’s doubles, Robin Harper and Harry Wakefield proved why they entered the competition as top seeds, taking gold in the final against Butler and Jia Bin Lee.
The pair breezed to the final and picked up gold with a 21-16 21-15 win at the National Badminton Centre.
Though this marks the close of their junior careers as a pair, their ambition has not ceased as they target a continuation of their success on the senior stage.
“Over the past couple of months, we’ve had a lot of experience playing top level doubles so it was good to finally tick the last one off of our junior careers,” Harper said.
Wakefield added, “We were trying to not make too many errors. Hopefully we’ll be progressing as a pair all the way to the Olympics and senior badminton.”
With special thanks to Yonex, Official Sports Equipment Partner for the English National Championships Series