Loughborough’s badminton players were on top form at the Polish International at the end of September, with every player returning to the East Midlands with a medal of some sort.
Leading the way were women’s doubles pairing Jenny Moore and Viki Williams, the duo both studying for MScs having graduated from their undergraduate degrees at Loughborough University in July. Heading into the tournament as number one seeds, they raced to the semi-final stage without dropping a set and it was clear they were on top form.
In the semi-final against a Danish pairing, Moore and Williams dropped the opening set 21-19, but fought back well to gain control of the match, winning the next two sets 21-18 and 21-7. The final was to be against an Indian pair who had come through the entire tournament without dropping a set, so their toughest test yet. None-the-less Moore and Williams managed to close out the game in two tight sets, winning 21-19 and 24-22 to secure the Polish International title. With that victory the duo now sit on the cusp of a top 50 world ranking, a sign of true elite status in the sport.
There was also a standout performance from alumna Jordan Hart in the women’s singles, as she progressed through the draw to the final stages. Noted as ‘one to watch’ by Badminton Europe prior to the event, the Welshwoman fell just short in the final, edged out by Switzerland’s Ayla Huser in a 40 minute thriller.
There was a further silver in the mixed doubles, with Loughborough’s other pairing winning bronze. Williams and Matt Clare played exceptionally well, getting the better of a good Danish pair in a tough semi-final, to set up a gold medal match against another Danish pair, Knusden and Nielsen. Unfortunately they came up just short, but a silver medal was just reward for their efforts. In the other half of the draw, new partnership David King and Jenny Moore made it through to the semis before losing out to the eventual winners, so bagged bronze.
In the men’s doubles, Loughborough students Matt Clare and David King headed to Poland as the ¾ seeds, progressing to the semi-finals without dropping a set. They had a tough match-up in the semi-final though against the German number two seeds and despite a close second set had to settle for bronze.
After such a great showing by the team at international level, we’ll be keeping a close eye on their progress over the coming weeks.