A GREAT EVENT AT A PERFECT VENUE Two months ago I was elected as the new president for Badminton Europe. For me of course it was a big and memorable day. I had a smile on my face when I went to bed that night, and one thing is for sure: I will have the same smile on my face every single night I go to bed here in Minsk during the European Games. The European Games. It just sounds great and spectacular. This is an event I have been looking forward to since it was announced that the games would take place in beautiful Minsk. This is not my first time here. I know the city; I know the people and I know the venue where the badminton event will take place. I have visited venues all over the World, and I cannot imagine a better place to have this exactly event: Falcon Club is a modern sport and entertainment complex – you have all you need to host the biggest event. During the seven days the badminton event will run at the European Games I will assure you that you will see the best players Europe can bring. Olympic medalists, World Champions, several European Champions – they are all gathered here for one common goal: To write their name in the history books. The European Games is not “just” another Championship. European Games is the biggest multi-sport event in Europe and as an athlete it surely means something to be the only second player to win a golden medal at the Games. A golden medal here can change your life. So can a silver and a bronze medal. Just ask the medalists from the Baku games. Seven days of badminton is on. Minsk is ready. The venue is ready. The players are ready. I hope that you are ready for the best that European badminton can present. If are you new to our sport it is my honor to welcome you. I hope you will all enjoy the 2019 European Games – I for sure will.
Peter Tarcala BEC president Imprint: Badminton Europe - Published by Badminton Europe Confederation, Brøndbytoften 14, 2605 Brøndby, Denmark.• Responsible editor: Rasmus Bech • Design: Laura Martí Diez • Journalists: Annika Langrock, Aidan Thomas Jones • Coverphoto: Badminton Photo • Photos: Badminton Photo
THIS IS BADMINTON
16 THE BEST OF BADMINTON
ROAD TO MINSK THESE ARE THE DRAWS
THE STARS OF TODAY
2015 EUROPEAN GAMES WINNER
PABLO ABIÁN 22
CONTENT JUNE 2019
WHO TO WATCH AT THE EUROPEAN GAMES
ANASTASIYA CHERNIAVSKAYA 28 STARS OF THE FUTURE:
38 INTERVIEW: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EUROPEAN GAMES
A simple rule guide by
adminton is a racket sport that is played with a free air space above the court. The aim is to hit the shuttlecock (shuttle) with the racket, so that it ﬂies over the net and touches the ground on the other side of the court, within or on the lines.
Players are just allowed to hit the shuttle once before it crosses the net. The shuttle can touch the net, as long as it lands on the other side of the court afterwards. When the shuttle touches the ground, the so-called ‘rally’ is over. If the shuttle lands within or on the lines on the other half of the court, the player who has hit the shuttle gets one point. Should the shuttle touch the ground outside the lines, the other player gets one point.
Service right and games
By making one point, the player earns the right to serve. After scoring an even point, players are serving from their right side of the court to the other right side. If an uneven point is scored, players are serving from their left side to the left side of their opponent. This means that players, who serve, must hit the shuttle, so that it touches the ground within this area to score one point with the first shot. To win one game, players must score at least 21 points, as well as two more points than their opponents. The maximum amount of points, that a player can score in one game, consists of 30 points. When a player wins a game, both players switch sides of the court. Besides, there is a break after 11 points in each game. This is called an interval. A match is won after the “best of three” games, meaning that players need to win two games.
One match involves two or four players, who are either facing each other one-to-one or in a two against two mode. There are five categories in total:
de by Annika Langrock
The role of technical offIcials
The umpire controls the game on court. He/she sits in a high chair, close to the net and announces the score, service rights or player faults. The umpire communicates directly with the players to ensure that they follow the regulations. Across to the umpire, there is a service judge sitting on a lower chair on court. The service judge ensures that the service is carried out correctly, referring to the service rules. Also sitting next to the court, are the line judges. Every line judge must observe one or more lines and calls the shuttle either “in” or “out” of their line, after it has touched the ground. Up to ten line judges can be assigned for one match.
Viktor Axelsen, one of the most prominent figures within badminton, is chasing his first European Games title. Written by: Aidan Thomas Jones
All the best players across the continent have travelled in some ways. It is always different when you live in a big to Minsk for an event that they all want to have on their sports city with other athletes, so in that sense, it makes it achievements, especially the former World Champion, a little bit different, the Men’s Singles player said. Viktor Axelsen. - It is always nice to get the chance to meet new peoThe defending European Champion will be among a ple. With athletes, you might not have had the chance number of top players from Europe in Minsk. Axelsen, to speak or spend time with them before, but at a mulwho is going to compete at his first European Games ti-sport event it allows you to do that a little bit more. this summer, is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of him. - i alWays Try To do my BesT
aXelsen’s Goal: WinninG The TiTle The Dane returned from an injury in early 2019. Now, he is ready to hunt for the title that he has never achieved.
The Games in Minsk have come at a very good time for the badminton players. The Olympic Qualification year is on, and Axelsen is motivated, not just to win the European Games but to get as many points as he can.
- My goal is to do well and win the European Games. - One of the big reasons to go to such event and hopeIt is always tough, and you never know what is going fully doing well is that you can earn points for the Olymto happen. However, I would say that I stand a good pic Games, Axelsen said. chance of going far into the tournament. - I always try to do my best and it would be a great Axelsen has played in several high-profile tournaments chance to do that in front of the European crowd, he during his badminton career, so far. He believes that it added. has put him in good stead to compete at a multi-sport event. The dream To Be a hero - The more you can stand in an important situation at big tournaments the better. So, it has given me something or Axelsen, who is regarded and respected as one of the at least the experience, that you can use in an event like world’s best players, had that same dream as most chilthe European Games, he said. dren, to represent their country, on the highest level in their sport.
I always try to do my beﬆ it would be a great chance to do that in front of the european crowd
The 25-year-old won the Gold medal at the European U17 Championships in 2009, and then followed up with Gold in 2011, at the European Junior Championships. In 2016 and 2018 Axelsen was crowned as Men’s Singles Champion at the European Championships.
SUCCESS AT THE MULTI-SPORT EVENT
- When you are young, you do not really know what it would take to get to the top and be one of the best As far as tournaments go, the European Games for bad- players. I had a dream at that point and as I got older, I minton players will be more than a tournament. It will be believed in it even more, Axelsen said. a chance for them to enjoy the experience, especially - I was happy and grateful that I have had good coachthose who have never been to the Olympic Games. es around me and a little bit of talent. Enough to make Axelsen, who won Bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games, me progress in the sport and I am happy where I am at believes that it is slightly different to compete at a mul- now. ti-sport event compared to a ‘normal’ Championships, Axelsen is seeded number one at the European Games. and the Games gives athletes the chance to explore. - It is different; I have not been to the European Games, but I can imagine that it is like the Olympics
16 4 15 4
“ I WANT TO DEFEND
Written by: Annika Langrock
First event, ﬁrst victory: Pablo Abián from Spain is the defending champion of the European Games. In 2015, the 34-year old won the Men’s Singles title at the ﬁrst edition of the multi-sport event in Baku, Azerbaijan. Pablo Abián is living the sport of badminton. As a six-year-old, he was entering a badminton hall for the first time. Since then, he has never put his racket aside. Indeed, the Men’s Singles player will be competing at Europe’s biggest multi-sport event this year: the European Games. After winning the first edition of the event 2015 in Baku, Abián is also qualified for the second European Games in Minsk, Belarus. Abián finished the ranking as the seventh best-ranked European, meaning that he won himself a spot in the Men’s Singles competition in Minsk. Since 2003, Abián has been a member of the Spanish national team. The same year, he also had his international debut on court. 16 years later he has several times been honored as the best badminton player in Spain, as well as the best athlete in his hometown, Calatayud. Badminton has always been playing a huge role in Abián’s family. His brother and sister already played before he did and his dad was the coach of the local club, where the Spaniard began his career. Pablo, you have won the latest and first edition of the European Games in the Men’s Singles. Can you describe the feeling of becoming the champion in Baku? Abián: It was a special moment for me. It was spectacular to listen to the national anthem, at the top of the podium with a golden medal hanging around my neck. I started to remember how hard I have worked to achieve this success. It was an amazing feeling. This title was also your first ever victory in a multi-sport event… 22
Abián: It definitely had a tremendously positive impact on my sport CV. I have won several international Championships but winning the European Games is a special achievement. It has been worth all the previous preparations.
tion makes it also easier to promote badminton. An event, that all European and World top-class players attend, is important because a lot of people follow it. You are qualified for the second edition of the European Games. What was your reaction, when you realised that?
Apart from the European Games, you have already participated in the Olympic Games (2008, 2012 & 2016) and have also won the Mediterranean Games Abián: This season, it was one of my big goals to qualin 2018. How is it to participate in a multi-sport event? ify for the European Games in Minsk. Having achieved this, is a fantastic feeling. Abián: Of course, you can enjoy your sport as you do in other Championships but participating in a mul- What are your expectations and goals for the European ti-sport event is going a step further. You live together Games 2019? with athletes from other disciplines and you can support your national colleagues that are participating in other Abián: I need to prepare and practise very hard to get sports. The atmosphere that you experience at the Euro- in the best shape possible for Minsk. I want to defend the pean Games is fantastic. It is like the Olympic Games, title, but there are other players that are better ranked but at a European level. You get the chance of enjoying than I am. Therefore, it is my goal to fight for a medal. badminton but also other sports. How did you interact with players from other sports? Abián: I got the possibility of meeting other athletes and was able to cheer for my national teammates, who are for instance competing in taekwondo, table tennis or fencing. I also had a blast with my colleagues from my own sport, especially with Laura (Molina) and Haidee (Ojeda). It was a great time. How important is it for the sport of badminton to be represented at the Games in Minsk? Abián: Badminton perceives a bigger attention by the media at a multi-sport event than at a Championship within the sport. The fact of having a lot of media attent-
PABLO ABIÁN D.O.B.
12 June 1985
Place of birth Calatayud, Province of Zaragoza, Spain
Height 1,78 metres
Languages Spanish, English
Highest world ranking
20 in the Men’s Singles (in 2012)
Written by: Aidan Thomas Jones
The Hall of Fame is Badminton Europe’s way of recognising the athletes who have honoured the sport of badminton in an extraordinary way. The most recent member was added to the exclusive group in April 2019, at the 7th BEC Awards Gala evening in Kiev.
GILLIAN GILKS MBE, Erland Kops was the first member of the Badminton Eu- ENGLAND - 2014 ERLAND KOPS, DENMARK - 2013
Gillian Gilks was the first woman to become a member of the Hall of Fame and at the same time, she became the Kops was known in his playing career in the 1950’s and first English player to be part of the recognised group. 60’s. The Dane won several titles in the Men’s Singles, The 69-year old won several titles both at individual and Men’s Doubles as well as Mixed Doubles. team competitions, during her fantastic playing career. Eleven of which were All England Open Champion- Gilks was most known for her 12 European Championships titles, which at the time were classed as the World ships Gold medals, across all three categories. Championships. She also won several Bronze and Silver medals at the In the 1960 decade, he was also one of few Europeans World Championships as well as a stunning eleven titles to win a title in Asia.Kops unfortunately passed away in at the All England, alongside titles from Asian tournaFebruary 2017, shortly after his 80th birthday, leaving a ments to add to her list of achievements. legacy behind. He was possibly the best ever player to grace a badminton court. rope Hall of Fame.
LENE KØPPEN, DENMARK - 2015 The Dane was introduced to the Hall of Fame as the first Danish female player, after her stunning career on court. The 66-year old won many titles during her career, including the World Championships on two occasions as well as the European Championships and the All England twice as well as so many more titles. She was the first ever Women’s Singles and Mixed Doubles World Champion and Køppen is one of few players, who has won a World Championships Gold medal in more than one category.
MORTEN FROST, DENMARK - 2016
NORA PERRY MBE, ENGLAND - 2017
Morten Frost was the fourth player to be awarded a Nora Perry entered the Hall of Fame in 2017, for her place in Badminton Europe’s Hall of Fame, for his out- continuously stunning achievements across badminton standing achievements across world badminton. during the late 1900’s. Frost won titles at the European Championships, All Eng- Perry was the World Champion in the Women’s Douland and Denmark Open and on top of that two Silver bles in 1980. The Englishwoman won the Mixed Doumedals at the World Championships. bles title three years later and won four other World Championship medals in her career. After retirement Frost has been involved in badminton as coach for among others South Africa and Malaysia. The 65-year old won eight All-England Open Championship titles, four European Championships, the Japan Open on three separate occasions between 19821986, as well as many more achievements
PETER GADE, DENMARK - 2018
MIKE TREDGETT (MBE), ENGLAND - 2019
Peter Gade was the sixth member to be mentioned in the Tredgett has become the most recent Hall of Fame memHall of Fame, after retiring in 2012. ber in Badminton Europe’s exclusive group of former players. The five-time individual European Champion and former World number one was the first European to grace The former doubles profile is one of the most successful the top of the podium at the World Junior Champion- players at the European Championships. He has won ships, when he won the Men’s Doubles category in Kua- the World Championships in 1980 and 1983 and the la Lumpur in 1994. All England on three occasions, in both Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Gade also managed to win five European Mixed Team Championships as well as three Men’s Team Championships.
Badminton in Belarus is definitely on the up and the European Games surely cannot harm the way it is going. Written by: Aidan Thomas Jones
ANASTASIYA CHERNIAVSKAYA 28
a ChanCe To GroW Since the success of the Belarus International in 2018, badminton is in safe hands at the European Games this month.
Cherniavskaya has one big dream: Enhace the sport and increase the amout of people playin badminton
Belarusian player, Anastasiya Cherniavskaya, believes badminton in Belarus is going in the right direction, and the European Games can support bringing new fans - For Junior players, and senior players there are not and a new dimension. that many tournaments in within Belarus, three times per - The development of badminton in Belarus is ongo- year. ing and has been improving within the last years. This process has allowed the promotion of badminton in my - In my opinion a huge step forward to develop badcountry, and there is more information about badminton minton in Belarus is to create a club system, the 27-year old said. as a sport, Cherniavskaya said. - With the European Games coming to Minsk, it has Cherniavskaya will play in the Women’s Singles and the allowed sports, such, as badminton, to become more Women’s Doubles categories at the European Games. popular to the locals. - People could learn something new about badminton which was proved when we had our first international tournament in September last year, the Belarusian said.
“The development of badminton in Belarus is ongoing and has been improving within the last years.”
“A huge step forward to develop badminton in Belars is to create a club system”
BrinGinG Children inTo The piCTure In addition to the multi-sport event, there is also a bid to improve. Such as, the number of children playing badminton, organised by the Belarusian Badminton Federation. - There are new sport schools, new sport halls for badminton, new coaches. “The Kids league” for children U11, U13, U15, which was created by my federation, helps to support their first steps in sport and encourage them to take part, Cherniavskaya said. Cherniavskaya has one big dream for Belarusian badminton, to enhance the sport and to increase the amount of people playing it. 29
Fabien Delrue is 19 years old and one of the rising stars of European badminton. After winning three titles at the European Junior Championships last year, the Frenchman has now big ambitions and dreams for his prospective career. 34
Growing up close to Paris, Fabien Delrue joined his local badminton club as a nine-year-old.
Play hard, study hard To achieve his goals, Delrue is working hard – not
- My sister has been playing badminton and I always went to see her practise. I really liked it, so I decided to only on court. Next to playing badminton, he is also studying economics. start as well, Delrue said.
Today, the young Frenchman is still playing at USEE, but - Usually, I start the day with a morning training sesmost importantly: He is also part of the French national sion, either on the badminton court or in the gym. team. After lunch, I study for about three hours – in my
Three-time European Junior Champion
room or with a group of people. Then, I finish the day with some practice on court.
Representing his country, Delrue was able to win two Gold medals at the European Junior Championships in Being ambitious, Fabien Delrue has a bright future Tallinn, Estonia, last year. He won the Men’s Doubles as to look forward to. Hence, he is inspired by his Euwell as the Mixed category, together with his partners, ropean competitors. Wiliam Villeger and Juliette Moinard. - I always preferred to play Doubles, Delrue said. In Estonia, Delrue achieved another title with the French team: He became the ‘2018 European Junior Team Champion’.
- I admire the Danish Men’s Doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. I like how they played and that they had a long career together.
The Olympic Silver medallists from 2012, two-time European Champions, as well as World ChampiAfter these milestones in his junior career, the 19-year- onship silver medallists, achieved several successes – milestones, that Delrue intends to emulate. old has entered the senior stage. - I want to gain experience and prepare myself physically for the senior level, he stated.
“I want to enter the top 30 in the world”
Playing badminton for about ten years, Delrue feels comfortable on court – and knows what matters. - If you want to play badminton, you need to be strong – physically and mentally. You also must have a good technique and like the competition, he said. - I really like the speed, the tactical part and the commitment to my partners. Looking towards the future, the Frenchman has ambitions and goals to aim for. Goals that sound realistic for the three times European Junior Champion. - I want to play at the European and World Championships. I also want to enter the Top 30 in the world, in the Men’s and Mixed Doubles.
- It is my dream to play at the Olympics. Winning medals at the European as well as World Championships and at the Olympics would be incredible.
D.O.B 22 June 2000 Place of birth Sarcelles, France (near Paris) Height 1,82 metres Languages French, English Hand Right Fact Fabien’s sister, Delphine Delrue, is also playing in the Doubles categories. She is currently ranked within the Top 40 in the Mixed as well as Women’s Doubles. 35
World Champions and future Paralympic winners from Europe â€“ have you ever heard of Jack Shephard, Lucas Mazur, Rachel Choong or Helle SagĂ¸y? We present you the four biggest Para-Badminton players of the continent.
JACK SHEPHARD, ENGLAND
LUCAS MAZUR, FRANCE
Jack Shephard is one of Europe’s most successful Para-Badminton players. The current number one in the World Rankings is competing in the sports class of SS 6 (short stature). 1,35 metres tall, Shephard is playing in the Men’s Singles as well as in the Men’s Doubles, together with his compatriot, Krysten Coombs.
The defending World Champion began to play badminton in elementary school, with his school mates during lunch time. He enjoyed it so much that he joined a badminton club to improve his game.
In his youth, Mazur suffered a stroke, which caused a malformation of his right ankle. Today, he is playing in In 2017, the Englishman became two-time World Cham- the SL 4 sports class, in which players with an impairpion; in the Men’s Singles as well as Doubles. In 2018, ment in one or both lower limbs face each other. he also won the European Championships in both categories. Last year, Shephard won 11 titles at international Participating in international Para-Badminton tournatournaments and championships. ments around the world, Mazur is most successful in the Men’s Singles: The 21-year old is the three-time EuHe was also awarded as BEC Para-Badminton Player ropean Men’s Singles Champion (2014, 2016, 2018) of the Year 2017 and 2018, as well as BWF Male Pa- and also won two medals at the World Championships; ra-Badminton Player of the Year 2018. Gold in 2017 and Silver in 2015. Shephard is England’s favourite to win a medal at this - I want to become the World Champion this year, as year’s World Championships in Basel, as well as the To- well as the first Paralympics Champion in 2020, Mazur kyo 2020 Paralympics. revealed his goals for the future.
RACHEL CHOONG, ENGLAND
HELLE SAGØY, NORWAY
Rachel Choong – a name that you can find in the history books of Para-Badminton. In 2015 and 2017, she became the World Champion in three categories (Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles). Having achieved these titles, Choong is the first English player ever to win three categories at a World Championship, as well as the only Para-Badminton player in the world who won the triple twice.
As an eight-year-old, Helle Sofie Sagøy was playing badminton for the first time. Today, she is one of the best Para-Badminton players in the world.
The eight-time World Champion and nine-time European Champion is competing in SS 6. In this sports class, she is also the current number one in the World Rankings.
At the age of 15, Sagøy participated in her first international tournament. Only two years later, she became the two-time World Champion; in Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles. As the first female Para-Badminton player ever, she was voted Player Of The Year by BWF in 2015.
The 21-year-old was born with Dysmelia. She is, therefore, using a prothestic for her right leg and competes at international Para-Badminton competitions in the SL 4 sports class.
Although para-badminton will finally be included in the Paralympic programme next year, there will be no competition for the women’s short statue category. - It was an honour to receive the award and meet all the stars. It is one of my favourite moments in my life, - I was disappointed when I heard the news, but I still Sagoey said. was okay with it. Actually, I half-expected it. I had a vague idea of what the criteria for Para-Badminton In 2018, the Norwegian had another big moment: She were to be accepted to the Paralympics, Choong told won two gold medals at the European Championships. 39 said.
Written by: Aidan Thomas Jones
The European Games is here, and the sports are ready to showcase what they have to the public, not least badminton. Badminton could be regarded as one of the more pop- infuse pride around the performances and medals of ular sports at the European Games. The General Secre- our athletes. It is important, for badminton, especially tary of Badminton Europe, Brian Agerbak, believes that to have our own Continental Games, as we normally it is up to elements like fanbase, television exposure and have very strong Asian opponents on court. In Minsk, social media to rate the sport terms of popularity. badminton athletes will have the chance to win Olympic medals and gain important World Ranking points with- For badminton, it is always important to be a part of out facing Asian opposition, he said. multi-sport events, wherever possible, Brian Agerbak said. The Olympic Games qualification has gotten underway and will continue until April 2020, and players can earn - Our sport deserves to be part of the European Games points at the European Games. as the sport has developed a lot, over recent years and I certainly do think that it gives status to a sport to be part - The key thing was to make sure that we had world of these Games. ranking points attached to the European Games. We did not have that in Baku, but we will have it in Minsk.
EUROPEâ€™S CHANCE TO WIN MEDALS Agerbak has seen action on badminton courts all over the world. For him, it is important that European badminton players can compete within their own continent.
- I fully understand that players are focused on World Ranking points and the qualification for the Olympic Games. That is why it is necessary that we provide World Ranking points for this event.
With the European Games being very similar on court - I think that it is good for the European identity to have to the European Championships, the General Secretary revealed the positives of the two being so similar in our own Games, that we can tailor to our needs and some ways but different in others. 40
- At the European Championships, the focus is around only one sports hall which gives more focus to one sport. On the other hand, being part of the European Games, we also enjoy the extra attention around all the sports at the Games. - Of course, at the European Games, there will be a lot of other things going on and there will be an opportunity to go and experience other sports as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
“Our sport deserves to be a part of the European Games as the sport has developed a lot over the recent years”
BADMINTON EUROPE’S COE SUCCES This event is also a celebration for the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence. The centre opened in 2017 and there are now three players qualifying for the Games at the first possible attempt.
Brian Agerbak is pleased to see players from Centre of Excellence qualifying for the European Games
BRINGING IN NEW FANS OF THE SPORT
Agerbak is hoping that the European Games can conFelix Burestedt, Milan Ludik and Lilit Poghosyan man- verge new supporters for the sport of badminton. aged to cement their place at the event. - I think, every time you give exposure to a sport and - I am very pleased that we have qualified players out reach outside your normal fanbase, then there is a of the Centre of Excellence in Holbaek, Agerbak said. chance that you can converge new fans for the sport. There is only a limited number of spectators that get to - It is our aim to make the players as good as their poten- see the badminton competition live in Minsk but the tv tial allows and to help them fulfil their goals and dreams. coverage will also be important for the goal of attractI know that for some of the players, it was a dream to ing new badminton fans. qualify for the European Games. Before they came to the Centre, they did not believe that it could become a - We hope to benefit from the television product to get reality, Agerbak commented. into the homes of more people whether it is on their TV screen or on their mobile devices so that people will see what a fantastic product we have have, Agerbak said. - Then we can convert more people into fans and hopefuture, he fully, they will demand more badminton in the future added.
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