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AN IMPORTANT EVENT Dear badminton fans and friends, I am very happy to welcome you all to the magazine of the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships. The last 12 months have been challenging for all of us, but to use a cliché, I see this event as a light at the end of the tunnel. In organising this event our sport is getting one step closer to normal. At the end of 2020, European organisers managed to organise the Juniors, circuit tournaments and the qualification for this event, and I am pleased that we, in early 2021, can again watch the best players in Europe on court. Of course, I would have liked to welcome you all to the city of Vantaa, but unfortunately the COVID-19 situation does not allow fans into the stands for this year’s edition of the European Mixed Team Championships. Despite not following the tournament from the venue, I am pleased that we can bring the action to you on many different platforms. Via www.badmintoneurope.tv you have the option to watch every single tie and match on your preferred device. It is crucial that we keep the sport going and I would like to express my gratitude towards Badminton Finland for hosting this very first Badminton Europe major event of 2021 but also the 2020 European Junior Championships. The 2021 European Mixed Team Championships is hosted under difficult circumstances, but the organisers have put in considerable work to allow the event to be played in the best possible way. In the qualification for the event in December, we saw a small surprise when the Scottish team won their group ahead of Spain and qualified for the Championships. I am looking forward to see how they can do in Group 1, facing the host, Finland, the holder, Denmark and Germany. Many exciting matches also await us in Group 2, where England, France, Russia and Netherlands will be fighting for the two spots in the semifinals. I hope you will all enjoy this exciting event no matter where you are watching from. I wish all players, technical officials, organisers, partners, volunteers and fans a great tournament and I hope you will enjoy reading this magazine.

Brian Agerbak General Secretary Badminton Europe Imprint: Badminton Europe - Published by Badminton Europe Confederation, Brøndbytoften 14, 2605 Brøndby, Denmark.• Responsible editor: Rasmus Bech•Layout & design: Laura Martí Diez• Journalists: Alan Raftery, Emilie Sommer•Coverphoto: Badminton Photo •Photos: Badminton Photo & Badminton Europe


Written by: Alan Raftery

The host country Finland is known for being the happiest country in the world, the home of Santa Claus and having more saunas than cars. Now it is building its notoriety in hosting Europe’s biggest badminton events. At the end of October, Finland successfully looked after the European Junior Championships in Lahti, and right now is welcoming Europe’s top stars to experience a bit of Finnish hospitality for the European Mixed Team Championships. Ville Valorinta, President of Badminton Finland states. -We are very excited to welcome the best European badminton players here. Despite the COVID-19 situation, we will do our outmost to organise a successful event with great atmosphere that this top competition deserves. The ‘Country of a Thousand Lakes’, is much more renowned around the world for its winter sports than badminton, currently standing seventh in the all-time Winter Olympics medal table. Impressive for a country with a population of five and a half million. The Nordic nation has also produced strong badminton players over the years, collecting and bringing back multiple circuit titles. Perhaps the greatest achievement for Finland was the time they medalled at a European team event. Yes, the incredible feat happened in 2014, at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. The Finnish men pulled off the unthinkable and won the bronze at the European Men’s Team Championships. A man who was not only there but played a crucial role in this major Finnish success is Eetu Heino. The tall singles player, then 25, was playing some of his best badminton. In 2013, he won White Nights by defeating his compatriot Ville Lång in the final. As it was against Lång, the match was predictably a three-game marathon. Heino then in 2014, won his second title on home soil, the Finnish International. His opponent was once again a fellow Finn, Kasper Lehikoinen. Heino, now 32, remembers the bronze medal in 2014 fondly.

Finland were in a tough Group 4 with Russia, Italy and Israel. Russia were not only favourites as number four seeds, but fierce neighbouring rivals to Finland. Sensationally, the Finnish men were able to produce a result that has to be seen to be believed. MS1 - Vladimir Ivanov (RUS) vs Ville Lång (FIN) 21-13 19-21 19-21 MS2 - Vladimir Malkov (RUS) vs Eetu Heino (FIN) 1521 19-21 MD1 - Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov (RUS) vs Iikka Heino/ Anton Kaisti (FIN) 21-7 21-12 MS3 - Anatoliy Yartsev (RUS) vs Kalle Koljonen (FIN) 21-17 19-21 21-19 MD2 - Vitalij Durkin/ Sergey Lunev (RUS) vs Eetu Heino/ Ville Lång (FIN) 22-20 14-21 18-21 Finland 3-2 Russia -That victory was amazing. Our last doubles with Ville Lång was incredible. Finland does not usually win any doubles against the ‘big’ countries, so it made it even better, Heino said happily.

Finland take down neighbours! Following one of the greatest team battles of all time, Finland dispatched Italy and Israel 5-0 to advance into the knockout stages. If you defeat one neighbour, why not do the same to your other one? Finland faced their western neighbours Sweden in the quarterfinal and were still riding the high from their big group performance as they scored a 3-0 sweep. All three wins came from their singles players, Ville Lång, Eetu Heino and Anton Kaisti. Heino overturned his previous year’s loss to Gabriel Ulldahl at the Swedish International in Stockholm.

-The whole time in Basel was amazing. Not only winning the quarterfinal, but also beating Russia in the In the semifinal, the eventual winners Denmark were a step too far, but Heino explains this successful camgroup was something I will never forget. paign was down to one simple ingredient the Finns had in their team that year. - We had a great team and amazing spirit.

Heino currently stands at 86 in the world and much like in his title victories, he is battling a compatriot, Kalle Koljonen, ranked 80, for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. One of Finland’s more experienced players, he hopes to rekindle the 2014 spirit in Finland. - It is very nice to have a major event in Finland. We have had some big junior events, but this is even bigger. I’m sure all players are excited. The tall Finn has had a long career and the young talent coming through in Finland has not gone unnoticed. Particularly highlighting Finland’s two bronze medals in Lahti. - It is very nice to see juniors play well. Especially Nella’s [Nella Nyqvist] performance was amazing. Heino, although naturally a respected figure in the team, sees his role as the same as any other player. However, for everyone coming to Finland, Heino leads the way in advice on ‘the five things to experience in Finland’.

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) is pleased to announce that badminton is the latest sport to be added to the programme of the European Games Kraków-Małopolska 2023. An agreement was reached today between the EOC and Badminton Europe at the House of Sport in Copenhagen, with EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard and Badminton Europe General Secretary Brian Agerbak putting ink to the contract.

‘we are thrilled to have badminton back in the fold for the european games 2023

Badminton joins a growing number of sports on the programme for Kraków-Małopolska, after beach handball, canoeing, karate, modern pentathlon and taekwondo were all confirmed in December.

Badminton Europe President Peter Tarcala underlined the good relationship between his Federation and the EOC, and said the European Games in 2023 will once again attract the top talent from across Europe.

Kraków-Małopolska will be the third straight edition of “It is important to be part of EOC family and to be the European Games for badminton, following success- part of the biggest multi-sports Games in our continent, ful appearances at Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019. which for any sport is almost of the same importance as being part of the Olympic Games. I take it as a prestige. “We are thrilled to have Badminton back in the fold for I expect that with great organisation and partnership we the European Games 2023” said Nygaard. will be able to bring our best players and present badminton in the best way possible.” “For European badminton players, having the chance to compete for gold at the European Games is a high- Badminton is expected to adopt the same format it used light of their competition calendar every four years, and at Minsk 2019 for Kraków-Małopolska 2023, with an with ranking points offered for the Olympic Games Paris estimated 160 athletes set to compete in five events: 2024, the incentive to take part in the European Games men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s could not be higher.” doubles, and mixed doubles.

All five events will count towards the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s World Ranking as well as qualification towards Paris 2024, with the number of points awarded to be equivalent to that offered at the Continental Championships.

Badminton Europe General Secretary Brian Agerbak, meanwhile, said Kraków-Małopolska would be a good fit for his sport and the European Games in 2023.

“Poland has produced world-class badminton players for several years. Certainly it is important to have local EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi said he ap- players performing well in the European Games and I preciated Badminton Europe’s commitment to the Euro- expect this to help attract spectators to the badminton pean Games, which leads to an excellent preparation competition” Agerbak said. for athletes on the road to the Olympic Games. The European Games in 2023 will be an important step“Badminton saw great value in the European Games ping stone for the continent’s athletes in many Olympic right from the beginning, back before the first edition in sports on the road to Paris 2024. Baku in 2015. They are a trusted partner of the EOC and we are happy to be working together to provide their They will also be a showcase for some newer sports, athletes the best possible platform on which to compete such as beach handball, which will be making its first for continental glory while also giving them valuable appearance at a senior multi-sport event since the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019. Olympic experience.”

it is important to have local players performing well in the European Games and I expect this to help attract spectators to the badminton competition

The EOC Coordination Commission for the 2023 European Games, led by Chair Hasan Arat, has been working closely with the European Federations to finalise their participation at Kraków-Małopolska. With six sports now confirmed and more soon to follow, the EOC is quickly putting together an exciting, innovative and fan-friendly offering featuring the best athletes in Europe for the summer of 2023.

Written by: Rasmus Bech



From 2023, nations will play a qualification to be part of the eight-team final stage for the 2024 European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships (EMWTC). In 2019 and 2021, the European Mixed Team Championships have included eight teams for the final stage. From 2023/2024, the concept of qualification groups and an eight-team final stage will also be implemented at the European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships. - I believe the finals of the EMWTC will be a thrilling competition that can engage both long-standing and new badminton fans, Renna Unt, Chair of Major Events at Badminton Europe stated.


High level competition The decision to change the current format where all Member Associations of Badminton Europe can enter the final stage of the European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships to an event where the host, the holder and six additional teams will qualify was made at the Board of Directors meeting on 26 January 2021. - The decision to change the format was mostly driven by the wish to make the EMWTC one of our most important events, even more attractive to fans and media.

Renna Unt adds that it has been important to include the Member Associations in the process.

A combined final with the best men’s and women’s teams will enable us to showcase badminton in the best way with high-level competitive matches and the participation of the best European players, Unt said. - The current format also makes it difficult for many of our Member Associations to organise an event like this, but with the new format it will be easier, she added. Open entry in 2022 The 2022 European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships will have an open entry for all Member Associations. It was too early to make the implementation for the upcoming championships. - We are already in 2021 and having a new format in 2022 would mean hosting qualifications already this year. As our members have already done their budgets for 2021 competing and hosting qualifications have not been included into these. All members who are affected by the change can prepare in time, Unt stated

- The new format is based on the consultation process with Members. We asked for their feedback to potential format changes, and we were also encouraged by how well the EMTC format change was done some years ago New spot for U15 The European U15 Championships normally takes place during the EMWTC, but with the implementation of the new format, the U15 Championships will find a new spot in the tournament calendar. - The U15 Championships will remain, and the youngest players will still have the chance to compete for the European champion titles. The U15 European Championships will continue to take place on even years, and it will be either a separate individual event or it can be combined with the European Junior Championships that is held on the same years. - This will be the choice of our members who are interested in organising this event, whether they want to host U15 European Championships as a standalone event or the European Junior Championships organiser would like to add U15 EC to their tournament. Both options will be possible in the future.

Written by: Emilie Sommer

Four months ago, the European Junior Championships took place in Lahti, Finland, where Europe’s top junior players were gathered to fight for the medals. Two players who managed to win bronze medals were the Finnish talents, Nella Nyqvist and Joakim Oldorff.

European Champion coming from similar circumstances.

The image of the diminutive figure of Nyqvist, 14, sparring against the often tall, powerful Finnish men is an interesting one. However, she takes a lot strength from this.

I rarely play against players who are at the same age.

- Carolina Marin has made her way as one of the best from quite similar circumstances as I come from. She has worked and works hard to be the best and she is really The big women’s singles talent, Nella Nyqvist, was born physical. And like me, she is left-handed 20 March 2006 in Helsinki, Finland. She was brought to the badminton hall ever since she was born as both From U15 to a junior medal of her parents coach and were often in the hall. Little by A year ago, Nyqvist won the European U15 Championlittle she started to play more and more, but before set- ships in the women’s singles. Here, people really started tling for badminton she had tried football, athletics and to notice the young talent when she managed to beat gymnastics, but none of the sports were made for her. several seeded players on her way to claim the gold. Badminton was her calling. - It felt great. I had worked hard for it, and it was my first - I like badminton because you get new friends and big goal so far. I knew my condition was good, but I did learn a lot of new things. Also, when you do things right not know how good the other girls would be. Although I and succeed in something you have been aiming for, do not express my feelings so visibly, I had big feelings it gives you a great feeling, increases your confidence going on inside me and I felt really relieved. and makes you believe in what you are doing, Nella Nyqvist said. Just eight months after winning the European U15 Championships she participated at the European Juniors, with Challenging circumstances players three or four years older than her. She once The ambitions in Finland are huge, although European again beat several seeded players before in the end stars in the historical perspective do not come from Fin- claiming the bronze medal, reaching the podium for the land. Nyqvist puts some words on how it can be difficult second time that year. for Finnish players to reach the top but how she at the moment is really lucky. - I never thought that I could do so well in the Europeans. I was just glad that I made the Finnish team and got - The circumstances in Finland are really challenging if a possibility to play a few tough matches in the tournayou aim to the top. At the moment my situation is still ment. I got a good start for the tournament when I was quite okay because Airi Mikkelä practices with me. She picked to play singles in the first two team matches. I is still the best player in Finland although she has offi- won two good matches, which I thought that I had no cially retired from badminton. I feel that getting to prac- chance of winning and got used to the tempo that I was tice with Airi has really boosted my development and I not used to before. I got a lot of confidence from these learn really important things from her. Also, I have a nice wins. Also, I was able to play without pressure and I group of men who give me a tough challenge, some- think my opponents had the pressure always on their times even a bit too tough. But in the future, if my devel- side. I felt I got the best out of myself but for sure it was opment goes as planned it will probably be necessary more difficult for my opponents to play relaxed. to find practice opportunities from abroad. If I can sort this out somehow then it depends only on myself.

Even though the circumstances in Finland are a little difficult if you want to reach the absolute top, Nyqvist is positive, as her idol has managed to become Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion and four-time

Cannot lose At an early age, Nyqvist started to play against older players to be challenged and already at the age of 13 she was playing her first senior tournament in Estonia. But it is not always easy to play against the older players when you are just a young girl. - I rarely play against players who are at the same age. I am pretty used to playing against older players. Of course, older players are often more physical and that way also better than me and that makes it naturally hard to play against them. I feel that my strokes, tactics and overall game are on a good level, but I naturally lack power which makes it impossible to end rallies if the opponent is good enough. But mentally it is easier to play against them. - You have always an excuse for losing and it feels that you do not lose so much even when you do lose. When I play against my own aged players it is mentally tougher because you have no excuses for losing.

It is good to see that we have top international players. Nella is not alone Just like Nella Nyqvist, the 18-year-old men’s singles talent Joakim Oldorff is also born in Helsinki, Finland. He started to play with his father and when he turned six, he joined Tapions Sulka Club. When he was younger, he also played badminton outdoors at their summer cottage. - I love badminton, because it is a very fast sport and you have to be ready all the time. It is very competitive, and you can develop your skills all the time. Oldorff has already won several tournaments and won a lot of silver medals as well at international tournaments all over Europe and every time it has been with “Finland” on his back. - I represent Finland with pride in every situation. Even though Finland is not the biggest badminton country yet, it is good to see that we have top international players.

European Juniors Playing the European Juniors is something totally different when you are playing on a homecourt, which was the case for Oldorff. He was third seed and in the first three matches he showed why as he cruised to the semifinal without losing a game. In the semifinal, he lost out to a strong Yanis Gaudin from France, but Oldorff was satisfied as his goal was completed. - I felt amazing! I was happy, because I had played well and beat very good players. I set a goal to win a medal at the European Junior Championships one and a half year ago. Many players dream about playing at the biggest sport events like the Continental Championships, World Championships and of course, the Olympic Games. For Oldorff, this dream is not any different and in just three years’ time he hopes to achieve his big goal. - My big goal is to play in the 2024 Paris Olympics and make a good result. Reaching the top Finland has two top 100 players in men’s singles, Kalle Koljonen and Eetu Heino, who show that it is possible to reach the top and be able to compete with some of the best players in the world. Looking at his chances for reaching the absolute top, Oldorff says. - To reach the absolute top I have to train hard and live like a professional athlete. It will be hard to get to the absolute top but with the support of my family, coaches and friends I have a chance to do that. I do not see any reason why I could not achieve that. When dedicating most of your waking hours to badminton it is a significant help for Oldorff that he has a big support system which has helped him a lot. - My biggest support must be my family. They have taken me to many tournaments around Europe since I was nine. I am also thankful to my great coaches Anu Nieminen, Jaana Nurminen, Lasse Lindelöf and Joonas Lepistö. Now the big question is if we will see the two youngsters in the lineup for the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships.

Lahti lights up t Written by Alan Raftery

For the second time in just three months a Badminton to conduct the European Junior Championships in FinEurope major event takes place in Finland. In Novem- land, especially for the sake of badminton and the ber, the future stars were here. young players who got the opportunity to play in this event. At the beginning of November 2020, the European Junior Championships successfully took place in Lahti, Fin- A badminton event on such a scale taking place in Euland. We saw European top young talents expressing rope under heavy restrictions is symbolic of badminton themselves on court. standing strong together. In turn, it gave everyone a lot of confidence looking ahead towards the current EuroThe 11-day badminton tournament, which includes the pean Mixed Team Championships finals with all of Euteam and individual event, was able to go ahead de- rope’s top stars. spite the many tournament cancellations and challenges around the global pandemic. Immediately following the - We have learnt that we can do it. It is not easy, but if event, Badminton Europe Deputy General Secretary, you want to you can do it. The ones attending will have Jimmy Andersen shared his thoughts on how the event left with a positive opinion and I think badminton has was delivered and received. won this time and I am pleased that we managed to pull this one off, Jimmy Andersen said. - I am extremely proud and pleased that we were able

the future path A weight off Denmark’s shoulders One nation particularly relieved that the European Juniors went ahead was Denmark. They for the first time since 2013, won the European Junior Team Championships.

Magnus Johannesen is expected to be one for the future for Danish men’s singles, while the young French star, Alex Lanier, has already shown that he is one to watch, winning medals at the European U15 and U17 tournaments. The match went to a decider, but it was at this point Johannesen had a lot more left in the tank and Remarkable considering Denmark’s dominance in re- gave Denmark a 2-0 with a 22-20, 17-21, 21-9 win. cent years, but at junior level, the team has had to settle for two bronzes and a silver since their last win. They It was all or nothing in the women’s singles. narrowly missed out in 2018, losing 3-2 to France in the final. But this time they were able to inflict a revenge 3-0 Benedicte Sillassen took a comfortable lead, 11-4, at victory over the two-time reigning champions. the interval, and there was no doubt that the Dane had the momentum. Sillassen won the first game 21-8. Anna In a thrilling opening game of the tie, Danes Mads Tatranova left everything on court in the second game, Vestergaard/ Clara Løber delivered a minor upset but it was not enough, losing 21-17. The Danish team beating Christo Popov/ Flavie Vallet 18-21 21-17 21- then charged onto the court and surrounded a tearful 19 in a matchup that lasted 51 minutes. Sillassen in celebration.

The last time Denmark lifted the European Junior team trophy, players such as Line Kjaersfeldt, Mathias Christiansen, Rikke Søby and Maiken Fruergaard were part of the team, and now Denmark has a new golden generation. - It is overwhelming. It is a big result and I got to play the last game, so I am very happy for my team. Benedicte Sillassen said with a beaming smile. The 2020 European Junior Team Championships podium:

Individual glory In the individual event, we saw the medallists stand proudly on the podiums, giving a glimpse into the future of our sport. Moments like these will never be forgotten as they are printed in the history books forevermore. A tournament that stood strong and was able to adapt to the major restrictions in place around Europe. It was said before, that the juniors deserved these championships to go ahead, and they returned the favour with excellent cooperation and top-level performances on court. The two singles champions were thoroughly impressive in their personal journeys in Lahti, Finland. Popov family with two European Junior champs It was clear that Christo Popov was aiming for no other colour than gold in the men’s singles, securing a legacy of French singles in recent years. A proud moment came in 2017 for the Popov family when Toma Junior defeated his countryman, Arnaud Merkle to gold. A year later, Merkle had his moment against the young Christo in the final. And in 2020 it was Christo’s turn to be crowned king of Europe. Playing against countryman Yanis Gaudin, Popov was able to secure the gold with a 21-9, 21-18 result. Commenting on the title coming back to the Popov family, Christo said. - I am very proud of my achievement as that was my goal for this year. I am very happy to finish my young career with a win. - It is the third time we have an all-French final, I think we are both proud of that, he added.

It is the third time we have an all-French final, I think we are both proud of that Shapovalova’s tears of joy Throughout the week, Shapovalova, who has made her return following a lengthy injury, expressed her delight of simply being back on court. - It is so cool, as I am already able to run over the whole court, and it is so nice. The unseeded Swede, Edith Urell, has also put in a strong run to the final. She also featured in the mixed doubles final for Sweden with Gustav Bjorkler. In what was the match of the finals day, after losing the opening game 14-21, Shapovalova bounced back strongly in the second, however, she had to fend off a considerable run of points from Urell. With a 21-18 score, the Swede capitalised on her momentum and took a good lead in the decider, but it was Shapovalova who managed to mount a comeback and take the game 22-20, clinching the gold. There were many tears on court for Anastasiia Shapovalova. The tears continued as she walked towards the interview area. Taking a few moments to compose herself, she began to put words to this special victory. - It is really an amazing feeling because I was losing in the third game too much. I started to relax and enjoy the game and that’s it. - I am very proud to be representing Russia, and it is gold for Russia. I want to say thank you to everyone who supports me, and my coach. So, thank you so much! Shapovalova said while bowing to the camera

I started to relax and enjoy the game and that’s it. 

Doubles delight Germany’s 17-year-old Thuc Phuong Nguyen was instrumental in winning doubles medals for her country and caught the eye in Finland. In the first match of finals day, Matthias Kicklitz/ Thuc Phuong Nguyen defeated the unseeded surprise pair Gustav Bjorkler/ Edith Urell to claim the mixed doubles gold for Germany. They held their nerve in both games that ended 21-19, 21-19. - We are feeling really good. It was our goal to take the gold medal back to Germany. We played very well in the tournament and also in the team event. We prepared well. It is a really special moment Kicklitz said. For a pair that does not train mixed doubles together, this makes the feat even more impressive. Discussing their future together, Kicklitz stated. - I hope we can continue in mixed doubles after this. We are not training so much in mixed doubles. Normally, we only train for singles.

We prepared well. It is a really special moment. Another Danish pair emerges Following the retirement of many veteran men’s doubles stars, Danish badminton is in safe hands. William Kryger Boe/ Mads Vestergaard upset top seeds Egor Kholkin/ Georgii Lebedev to reclaim the men’s doubles title for Denmark after five years. Impressively, the Danes did not drop a single game in the entire tournament. After a solid 21-15 opening game, Boe/ Vestergaard came from behind to score six straight points, making it 20-18, championship point. However, they faced stiff resistance from the top seeds but eventually got over the line at 22-20 and both fell to their knees. - It is amazing. It was all good from the beginning. So nice that we won, Boe was extremely happy. Boe talked about the advice he got from his uncle and

Yeah! He loved the flick serve too, so that was for him. Danish superstar Mathias Boe. He had won the same event way back in 1999.

Germans to breeze through 21-12. Up 18-13 in the second, Michalski/ Nguyen looked set to force the final game. However, one last effort from their opponents paid off, with the second game ending 21-19. - We made many easy mistakes when we were leading. Maybe, we started to get a bit nervous in the second game, Michalski explained.

Vestergaard had to settle for two bronzes in 2018 but went all the way in Finland.

We are very happy. This game was very hard, but we won.

- I am very happy to have won the gold this time, Vestergaard smiled.

- We are very happy. This game was very hard, but we won, Iakovlena rejoiced.

Another gold for Russia After winning the gold in the mixed doubles, Nguyen had to settle for a silver in the women’s doubles with her partner Leona Michalski. On the other hand, the top seeds Anastasiia Boiarun/ Alena Iakovlena made up for the loss of their compatriots in the men’s doubles.

Hosts Finland also had a landmark championship with Joakim Oldorff, 18, and Nella Nyqvist, 14, both securing bronze medals in the singles.

- Yeah! He loved the flick serve too, so that was for him, Boe said.

It is now the turn of the senior pros, with a handful of junior stars selected for their national squads, to show what they can do on Finnish soil. After such a successful The European U17 champions from 2019 took some and entertaining EJC20 in Lahti, it is all systems go for time to get going. Once they did, they overwhelmed the the same in Vantaa.

Written by Alan Raftery In December 2020, a historic step was made at the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence (CoE). For the first time, a French Para badminton player joined the centre to train with some of Europe’s top talents. This was achieved during the height of the lockdown in many countries, with special thanks to Meril Loquette, his coaches and the French Badminton Federation for taking up the challenge and accepting this training invitation. It is a welcome fusion of Para badminton and High Performance initiatives. As a result of the pandemic, many players are benefitting from the Centre of Excellence being a training location very much open, while other nations have restrictions in place that makes training more difficult. Players are keen to get in some quality preparation be- fore what is turning into a busy 2021.

Many players are able to safely travel, live and train at the CoE in Denmark. Adding more background surrounding the move, Badminton Europe’s Development & High Performance Manager, Tania Teoh explains. - The idea of inviting Para players to train at the CoE continued this year as we received positive feedback from the players and coaches who attended last year. The state-of-the-art training centre at the CoE is without a doubt a dream training location for players. A lot of countries coming together France is one of the strongest nations in Para badminton with Meril Loquette as one of their SU5 men’s

singles stars who is currently ranked at number six in the world. With the Paralympics on the horizon, good preparation and training are vital, especially as competitive play has been limited for a prolonged period of time. Para badminton will feature for the first time at the Paralympics, so the excitement around this opportunity is very high. The unity in the pursuit if high-level training is clear to see once stepping into the CoE environment, as Loquette confirmed with a smile. - It is very cool to see all the players from a lot of countries coming together for the same sport. It is very nice. When travelling to Holbæk to speak with Loquette, we asked what has been the best part of being at the Centre, Loquette answered without a moment’s hesitation. - Today! Because we have been playing matches all morning and the coaches are always near to tell me what is good and what I need to change. Ready to fight! The Paralympics were postponed from 2020 to 2021, just like the Olympics, but for Loquette he does not see it as a hindrance, in fact, he looks at the bright side. - My goal is to win the best medal, maybe gold. For me, it is good that the Paralympics has been postponed, as I needed more time for practice. But now I am ready to fight! Loquette continued his training at the Centre of Excellence until just before Christmas. Will all parties happy following the collaboration, Badminton Europe is pleased to be able to assist in delivering the best for the top Para players. With a final word on this triumph, Tania Teoh states. - We look forward to more cooperation with the top nations in the preparation towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

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OPTIMAL BADMINTON BY OPTIMAL STORAGE! With the UNI-DAMP Hygro-boxes you not only get better durability, but also better badminton by optimal weight and weight distribution of the shuttles * controlled humidity * digital monitoring * low power comsumption * fast payback time * opportunity for trial period

Contact us without obligation We help suggesting the right model, calculate payback time, and make sample available

Tel: +45 2819 3438 Email: info@uni-damp.dk 9310 Vodskov - Denmark

www.uni-damp.dk email: info@uni-damp.dk

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