31 July, 2023

Michael Pang triumphed in a dramatic men’s singles final at the climax of a thrilling week for England’s young stars at the YONEX All England Junior Badminton Championships 2023.

Pang, seeded 11th, beat Mateusz Golas of Poland in a nerve-shredding final 21-13 18-21 22-20 to clinch victory, surviving a match point to take the title.

That followed another stunning victory over number one seed and Dutch prodigy Adith Karthikeyan Priya in the semi-final, leaving Pang delighted with his work in Birmingham.

“I’m elated and quite tired but overall it’s been great, I think I played really well,” he said.

Pang gold medallist

“I exceeded my expectations. Going in I knew he [Golas] was a strong opponent after beating all those good players. I just had to be mentally and physically prepared and stuck to the tactics.

“Towards the end of the semi and final, it’s about staying focused, not making silly errors and that worked out well.

“I was 20-19 down and really nervous, my hand might have been shaking but I managed to get through it. The crowd helped, there was a lot of cheering and that really helped with my confidence.”

Pang may have been the only English player to emerge victorious but there were a string of strong performances elsewhere, with representation in both the women’s and mixed doubles finals.

Dillon Chong enjoyed a brilliant run in the mixed doubles alongside India’s Taarini Suri, but the pair were overcome in the gold medal match 21-18 21-18 as Garret Tan and Ella Lin of the United States came out on top.

Lin made it a double triumph in the women’s doubles, partnering with Canada’s Jackie Dent to top the rostrum at the expense of England’s Chloe Dennis and Leona Lee.

After a 21-5 loss in the first game, the English pair improved greatly in the second game but fell just short of forcing a decider, as the team from North America ran out victorious 21-18.

Dent too was a double gold medal winner following her success in the women’s singles event, where she came from behind to beat India’s Raksha Kandasamy 19-21 21-12 21-11 in the final.

Dent celebrated her 18th birthday last month and after this belated present is now targeting a tilt at the senior YONEX All England Open.

“I’m filled with joy, I honestly didn’t expect to win this tournament,” she said.

“I didn’t beforehand after my injury, I was more focused on my leg instead of my game, but here I was able to play to my level because I was very relaxed and just reset wisely.

“It’s crazy. I’ve been told all week that I could win this, and it feels really good.”

The men’s doubles went the way of Jeffrey Chang and Kai Chong of the USA after they beat Estonia’s Andrei Schmidt and Hugo Themas 21-17 21-17 in the Second City.

With their flight back across the Atlantic originally booked for Sunday morning, the pair had not been expecting to advance to the latter stages of the competition but they certainly made the most of their extended stay.

“We’re very happy, honestly a bit surprised,” said Chong. “Our flight was booked for this morning because we did not expect to make it this far, but we kept playing and are very proud of our performance.

“This tournament is a great experience for us because we get to play against nations from all over Europe.

“This is one of our first international tournaments, so it’s a great experience to learn and see what it’s like.”

In total, 80 English players took to the court to showcase their skills across all five events during a memorable week, with special thanks to our Official Partner Yonex – the Official Equipment Partner of the YONEX All England Junior Open Badminton Championships.

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