Badminton Life

Welsh Players Hit Form Abroad

It is always a great privilege and a great challenge for young badminton players to be invited to play in a foreign country and no doubt the new culture and change of scenery is as exciting as the opportunity to test their strength and skills against players they wouldn't normally play against and who may posses different skills or styles of play than they would normally come up against.

Learning how to play against different styles of play and learning the nuances of foreign players is an important part of the development of any badminton player and very recently, the 13 to 19 year old badminton players from Wales turned in an extremely spirited performance in Olve in the Netherlands where they managed to come a close runner up to the eventual victors England.

Of course, England is right next door to Wales so it is unlikely that playing these opponents would have uncovered many new skills for the players but the overall event allowed some new experiences and showcased some emerging Welsh badminton talent.

A lot of the Welsh success rested on the shoulders of the Van Hooijdonk brothers who managed to decimate the opposition in the Under 15s and Under 17s Boys Singles and also tasted success in the Under 17s Doubles event. Daniel Van Hooijdonk clinched the Under 15s title with a 21-13, 21-19 triumph over Korhonen Joonas whilst elder brother Jamie Van Hooijdonk had a comfortable 21-6, 21-12 stroll over Lemaire Jerome to take the Under 17s event.

As if these individual triumphs weren't enough proof of the sporting success of the brothers, their quality was confirmed by triumphing in the U17 Boys Doubles event over Igor and Gilles in a three set thriller.

Whilst it would be hard for any of the other young Welsh players to live up to the high standards set by the Van Hooijdonk brothers, there were plenty of spirited showings by the other Welsh players who all managed to reach placings at the event.

Gareth Cox managed to make it to the semi-final stage of the Under 17 Singles event while Jordan Hart managed to make it to the last four of the Under 13 Boys singles event. Jordan Hart made a further name for himself when he and partner Michael Kinnear managed to make it to the final of the Under 13 Doubles where unfortunately they lost out. Further semi final placings were also achieved by Oliver Gwilt who made the final four of the Under 15 Singles event and he and Rob John managed to make the semi-finals of the Under 15 Boys Doubles event.

Given the small population size of Wales and the more natural pull that sports such as Rugby Union and football (soccer) have in the country, this spirited showing must be seen as a brave performance by the young Welsh players that bode well for the development of the game in Wales.

It may be asking for a lot for this crop of players to all make it through to be eventually challenging for major honours in badminton but even if they can continue their current showings and continue to reach the latter stages of tournaments then there is likely to be a strong level of Welsh badminton players for years to come.

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