Under-11 teams from England and Japan got a dream chance to play on the hallowed court at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships.

Players from the Japanese Schools Badminton Association were invited to face the best young English talent as part of a YONEX initiative in partnership with Badminton England.

The Japanese squad won seven matches that took place on Minoru Yoneyama Court moments before Finals Day at the world’s oldest badminton tournament.

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Hayley Adcock, coaching the English team, said: “It was an incredible opportunity for the young players.

“They went out there and loved it. It was all about them having fun and getting the chance to play against the Japanese players.

“It’s a tough arena to play in even for the best players! But they all had massive smiles on their faces and it was a chance to see the level that the Japanese are playing at.

“Massive hats off to YONEX and Badminton England for getting this going.”

England player Etienne Fan said: “It was a big privilege. I really enjoyed the experience and I loved having the chance to play on that court.

“Most professional players train a lot harder than us and they still don’t get to play on the finals court.

“I was really happy despite the result and I wish I could go back on there again!”

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Japan coach Naoto Nakaguchi said: “It’s a great opportunity for Japanese badminton. This experience will lead the Japanese team to a higher level.”

Chris Miller, Championships Director, said: “We are delighted to have given these promising youngsters the chance to play on the biggest stage in badminton – here in Birmingham at the YONEX All England Open.

“Inspiration plays such a key role in our work at Badminton England, and at these Championships, and I hope this experience will give them a huge sense of pride, passion and enthusiasm so that they continue to have a lifelong relationship with our sport. It’s such an incredible opportunity, and one we all enjoyed being part of. And perhaps we’ll see them return to the Championships in the future as a result – we wish them all every success as they continue their badminton journey.”

Dominic Bone, Marketing Manager at YONEX UK, said: “In our 40th year of partnership with the Championships, we are always looking for new ways to inspire the next generation of players.

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“Using the YONEX All England as a platform is incredibly exciting for young players and we hope it will inspire them to play more and see what possibilities could await them in the future.

“We hope to continue to offer more unique events and opportunities for players as we continue our partnership.”

England team: Junchen Lin, Olaf Kwiecien, Arjun Bhattiprolu, Etienne Fan, Gerry Ou, Nok Yi Chui, Veronika Kodagi, Mutiara Mandala, Michelle Chen, Jennifer Ha

Japan team: Taisei Kushima, Osuke Takahata, Tsumugi Sone, Natsuki Goto, Haruki Naito, Tatsushi Inagawa, Aika Ugawa, Rena Takeishi

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