March was another busy month on the junior pathway, with plenty of action on the court and an unforgettable experience off it.
Here’s what our youngsters have been up to…
Under-17 prep camp
Some of England’s shuttlers of tomorrow enjoyed an excellent training camp at Warwick University.
Team building, improving intensity on court and practice matches were all on the agenda for those involved.
This was organised ahead of the Under-17 6 Nations competition to be held in the Netherlands later this month.
It was ideal preparation with those involved gaining valuable experience on-court and fine-tuning their game ahead of one the bigger competitions on the junior calendar.
Pathway coach Kat Hurrell was delighted with the training programme and hopes it will make a big difference when the players head over to the Netherlands.
She added: “The players will now return home to continue their individual preparations before we travel out to the Netherlands on April 13.
“At the event we hope to challenge for medals in both the team and the individual events and will do our very best to achieve this whilst taking great pride in representing England.”
Discovery squad head to YONEX All England
Nine young players from the discovery squad enjoyed a day to remember when they had a day out at the YONEX All England at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena.
The group were able to watch world-class badminton up close with a great atmosphere and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ben Lane and the Adcocks while they were at it.
Thanks to coaches Hayley Adcock and Nicola Cerfontyne, who helped guide the players’ observations and learning curves throughout the day.
Witnessing the classic semi-final between Lakshya Sen and Lee Jia was the squad’s favourite – lots to copy and try out now!
A number of our junior shuttlers headed out to Trencin at the start of the month for the Slovak FS Open 2022.
A talented squad produced some excellent performances while representing England, particularly the men’s doubles team of Samuel Jones and Cholan Kayan.
They managed to get through the opening two rounds, beating a Dutch team in the first round, before a comprehensive win over French duo Titouan Hoareau and Edgar Roux, 21-14, 21-12.
Their run ended at the quarter-final stage but it was a positive showing from an exciting partnership.
In the men’s singles draw, Cholan Kayan came through qualifying before defeating Dominik Kwinta of Poland in a closely fought first round tie which went to three games, Kayan eventually triumphing 24-22, 18-21, 21-19.
The second round proved tougher against sixth seed Chan Yin Chak of Hong Kong, the top 200 ranked player winning 21-18, 21-12.
Alexandra Oprisan was another English shuttler who got through qualifying to the main singles draw in Slovakia but she was beaten by the home favourite and number one seed Martina Repiska, 21-15, 21-18.
It was another crucial step in the development of the players that went, and this competition wasn’t the only time this month the youngsters were competing overseas.
A number of junior pathway players then headed to sunny Caldas da Rainha for the 57th Portugal International Championships.
The charge was led by second seeds Rory Easton and Zach Russ, who fought their way to the last four for a semi-final showdown with Su Ching Heng and Ye Hong Wei.
It proved a challenge too unsurmountable for the 2021 Irish Open runners-up, as they were beaten in an extremely close contest with just three points separating the two pairs over the entire match, which ultimately went down 21-18, 19-21, 21-19.
Pamela Reyes and her partner Abi Holden were beaten in the opening round, but there was better news for Freya Redfearn.
She produced a confident performance to defeat Marija Sudimac inside 32 minutes, 21-19, 21-11.
The next round proved a tougher ask, with Hong Kong’s Yeung Sum Yee advancing, although Redfearn could take real heart from the second game, bowing out after a 21-11, 22-20 defeat.
In the men’s singles Johnnie Torjussen was England’s sole representative, but fell in the first round to Jia Wei Joel Koh of Singapore after the match went the distance, 21-12, 12-21, 21-16.