European Parabadminton Championships
6 Gold medals for Englands Parabadminton Team
Team England Para-Badminton stars Martin Rooke (Herts), Rachel Choong (Lancs) and Andrew Martin (Kent) all secured two European titles at the 2012 European Para-Badminton Championships in Dortmund. In addition, Gobi Ranganathan (Herts), Oliver Clarke (Kent) and Antony Forster (Avon) topped the podium once, with Daniel Lee (Essex), Bruno Forbes (Middlesex) and Krysten Coombs (Devon) grabbing silver as a reward for their efforts over the weekend.
In a tournament of over 100 players from 16 nations across the continent, Team England grabbed more Gold medals than any other nation, securing six to outdo home favourites and traditional powerhouses, Germany.
In the dwarf class Rachel Choong displayed her customary dominance topping her group before beating Ireland’s Emma Farnham 21-6; 21-2 in the semi-finals and going on to beat German second-seed Milena Hoffmann 21-7; 21-6 in the final. Rachel cemented her position as the best in Europe in her category by partnering Team England team-mate Andrew Martin to the SS6 Mixed Doubles crown, taking out Russia’s Alexander Mekhdiev and Germany’s Anna Spindelndreier 21-8; 21-8 in the final.
Andrew Martin and his club-mate Ollie Clarke took the SS6 Men’s Doubles crown for the third time in succession, the key to which was a hard-fought 17-21; 13-21; 10-21 victory over their compatriot Krysten Coombs and Ireland’s Luke Irvine. However, Andy was thwarted in his quest for the SS6 Men’s Singles title which he had targeted prior to the tournament. Despite impressing on his way to the final, he fell at the last hurdle to his old adversary Niall McVeigh (Ireland) 19-21; 15-21. Niall added the title of European Champion to his World Championship which he secured in Guatemala in November 2011.
Jenny Greasley competing in her first season of international events had a tough group including two highly seeded players. She fought hard but didn’t make it into the semi finals. She partnered Rachel Choong to a very commendable third place in the doubles event and partnered Krysten Coombs in the mixed doubles winning their group only to be unlucky to lose 21-16 21-16 in the semi finals.
Ollie Clarke had a good tournament but lost out to Andrew Martin in the semi finals of the singles competition, but together with Andrew he retained the doubles title in the doubles event for the third time. Krysten Coombs, also part of the England squad, had a tough weekend but still was rewarded with a silver medal in the doubles event.
Northern Ireland player Emma Farnham had a strong performance in the singles group only to be unlucky in the semi finals only being beaten by the eventual gold medalist Rachel Choong. She partnered Luke Irvine (also from Northern Ireland) in the mixed doubles and was unlucky to miss out on the semi finals on points. Luke Irvine has been working hard to prepare for this tournament and was rewarded with a silver medal in the doubles event. His singles group was a tough one and he didn’t make it the semi finals this time.
Team England Para-Badminton’s coach for the tournament, Helen Ward, was delighted with the squads’ performance over the course of the weekend, calling it an “amazing achievement” and saying that the squad were “a pleasure to work with”. She went on to say, “I was really proud of how every player has relished the opportunity to compete against top class players from across Europe and the standard was impressively high. Hopefully our players will use this as a good platform to go into the major events next season.”
Badminton Englands Tom Webster proclaimed himself “delighted” with the medal haul, saying that it: “Fully reflects the commitment, dedication and skill of the players. The medals won will give great momentum moving into next season and I expect the players to continue to push each other to improve and consolidate their positions at the very highest levels of International Para-Badminton over the course of this season, leading up to the World Championships in September 2013.”
Well done to all the DSA players who competed in Germany. We hope to see all these players at the Dwarf Nationals in August. If this has wetted your appetite to take up Badminton as a sport or improve your own game, contact the DSA office for more information and advice.