The Welsh Junior Nationals took place over the weekend of 15/16TH Feb and provided a showcase for some of the future Welsh stars with over 50 competitors playing in a range of events.
Saturday saw both the U13 and u17 events taking place and lots of competitive games taking place. Bhavana Balu cemented her place as Welsh No 1 U13 with a great victory but did not have it all her own way with strong challenges from Isha Mekala and Hannah Ahmad. Isha and Hannah then teamed up to take the doubles title from Ella Halsey and Lowri Ruddock.
The Boys singles was even more competitive with a new generation of family dynasties taking to the finals court. Eli Owen, winning a high-quality match from Zachary Morris 21-19 15-21 21-13. Zachary teamed up with Hector Bult and against Eli And Harri Wyn Owen took the title with a 22-20 21-16 game victory. But watch out for Alfie Bryan and Kuba Kwiatkowski who have shown real improvement this year and will be looking to get even more experience next year.
The u13 XD saw a dominant Eli Owen teaming up with Bhavana Balu pushing Zachary Morris and Isha Mekala in to silver medal position. No doubt this group of young Welsh starlets will be providing great excitement as the vie for position of top Junior.
The u17 evet saw the current top juniors take well deserved titles. Arnav Patil showed his great potential following up his strong showings in numerous tournaments around Europe with a series of dominant singles performances. In the singles final he produced a great effort to see off the challenge of Thomas Morgan.
The girl’s singles had Saffron Morris, still only 12, take the title from Lydia Morris. Saffron was not content with the singles title and teamed up with Jasmine Owen to create a formidable pair winning the doubles from Lydia Morris and Fearne Williams who played so well in the final match. Saffron still had time to take the XD title when the two singles champions came together. Arnav Patil and Saffron beat Liam Hird and Jasmine in what was effectively the final during a high quality 21-15 17-21 21-13 match.
The boys doubles saw top seeds Adil Khan and Dan Kite take the title from Liam Hird and Matthew Swash which included a wonderful 21-19 17-21 n21-19 match against each other.
The u17 consolation event saw Amay Patil show his potential. Amay, younger brother of Arnav took the title with a hard-fought win against Matthew Swash.
Sunday saw many familiar faces re-do some epic battles during the u15 and u19 events.
The u15 Boys singles was about Harper Leigh taking the title with a series of excellent performances from Eshaan Patil who himself had produced some stunning badminton including the epic match against his brother Amay, in the semi-final. The girls singles final saw Saffron Morris take her second singles title of the weekend with a two set victory over Bhavana Balu. Bhavana teamed up with Neve Thomas to take the title from Sot-Sai Thomas and Nishita Reddy Gopi. The u15 Boys Doubles produced a stunning final with Harper Leigh and Zachary Morris taking the title from second seeds Faaris Ahmad and Llwyd Crump 20-22 21-9 21-17. The XD was another tough event with lots of close matches. Eventually Amay Patil and Isha Makela came out on top with Faaris Ahmad and Bhavana Balu finishing in Runners-Up spot.
In the u15 Boys singles consolation, it was Llwyd Crum who took the title from a battling Joshua Humphreys.
The u19 event saw some of the best badminton of the weekend and the familiar faces kept showing off their skills. Arnav Patil doubled up on his u17 win taking the U19 Singles title with a physically impressive three set victory over Archie Bult, eventually winning the match 20-22 21-15 21-7. The doubles saw Archie Bult team up with Dan Clarke to take the title from Thomas Morgan and Jonathan Ewins.
Saffron Morris showed how dominant she has been over the last few seasons by taking the singles doubles and xd titles meaning she went through the entire weekend undefeated in all events. In the singles she took the title from Learna Herkes before teaming up with Learna to win against Jasmine Owen and Carys Jones. She rounded out her Full House when teaming up with Archie Bult to win the XD from Arnav Patil and Learna Herkes.
What a great weekend of badminton with great credit going to all the players for their behaviour and support. The officials under the watchful eye of Stephen Temple ran the event smoothly, efficiently and with an expertise to maximise the quality of play. Well done to all involved.
Full album of photos can be seen here.