Junior Worlds 1200 410

October 27 2022

Lisa Curtin and Estelle Van Leeuwen shone as England’s future stars took to the court for the individual event of the BWF World Junior Championships.

Many of those in action in Santander had taken part in last week’s team event, where the squad finished seventh, and they carried that good form into week two.

Curtin and Van Leeuwen reached the fourth round of the girls’ doubles, beating Chinese duo Luo Yi and Wang Yi Duo 21-18 15-21 21-16 in an epic, before losing a tense three-setter to Rui Kiyama and Kanano Muroya of Japan.

The epic contest lasted 59 minutes before the Japanese 15th seeds finally triumphed 21-18 22-24 21-13.

Speaking on their performance, national pathway coach and team manager for the tournament in Spain, Kat Hurrell, said: “Those two enjoyed a really fantastic couple of matches. I think they’ve had a pretty tough run, coming up against a really good Chinese pair, but they showed real resilience and ability to bring a great level both days, playing two hour-long matches, it’s not easy when you’re playing at the top level.

“Of course they wanted to try and progress in the tournament, but really it’s about seeing where we are against these top pairs and how we can compete.

“Both girls showed that they they’re up there, able to compete with the best.

Meanwhile, Leona Lee and Tashvi Parab made light work of their first-round fixture but were narrowly beaten by the Danish team of Maria Hojlund Tommerup and Katherine Vang in the next stage.

Van Leeuwen was again in action, this time in the mixed doubles, alongside Samuel Jones. The pair progressed to the third round before another Danish team spoiled the party, with Sofie Rojkjaer and Jeppe Soby 21-18 18-21 21-14 winners on this occasion.

Jia Bin Lee and Chloe Dennis were also in mixed doubles action and were foiled in the first round by the Ukrainian pair Yevhenii Stolovi and Yevheniia Kantemyr.

In the boys’ doubles, two English pairs made the second round: Nadeem Dalvi and Jia Bin Lee, and Blake Hoang and Jones. Both pushed the 14th and eighth seeds close respectively and are sure to have learnt a lot from playing against high-ranking players.

Dalvi was also involved in the singles event and romped to a 21-9 21-17 win in round one before a valiant 21-13 21-13 defeat to Christian Faust Kjaer.

On Dalvi’s performances, Hurrell said: “He had some really good performances. I think it’s hard coming in the individual after a team event, when some of these players have played a lot of matches.

“He’s shown a fantastic level, especially last week in a team event and then had a good match against top Danish boys. So he’s had a really good couple of weeks.”

Michael Pang also played well but did not quite have enough for India’s Bharat Rhagav losing 21-17 21-12 on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, in the women’s event, eighth-seed Curtin lost to Thailand’s Sarunrak Vitidsarn 21-10 21-17 in the second round.

That was after Leona Lee’s first round tie with American’s Veronica Yang, which went the distance before Yang emerged victorious 21-15 14-21 21-19.

Summarising her thoughts on the individual tournament, Hurrell said: “We had really, really good performances from players stepping up and competing with some of the best players here and other players gaining some really invaluable experience.

“I think everyone embraced the whole tournament and opportunity to come and see players and countries we don’t get to see very often, but I think all in all there were some really good performances.”

On last week’s team event, Hurrell added: “The team event was absolutely brilliant, it’s always really good when we can come out with a strong team.

“Some of our players were absolutely amazing with the level that they bought, and the resilience they showed to do it match after match.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever got into the top eight – that’s great recognition for the players and all the hard work that they put into it. It’s definitely one of the most enjoyable team events that I’ve been at.”

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