Victor Junior Olve Tournament 2017

Posted by Carissa Turner at 11:04 on 18 April 2017

Easter weekend, 2017, saw eight of our Badminton Wales juniors travelling to Belgium to compete in the Victor Junior OLVE tournament. The players were Saffron Morris (U11), Jasmine Owen (U15), Lowri Hart (U15), Daniel Kite (U15), Tom Morgan (U15), Archie Bult (U15), Adil Khan (U15) and Michael Pritchard (U17). The team arrived in Belgium on the Friday night and went straight to bed to ensure they were fit and ready for the tough weekend ahead.

 

After an early rise on the Saturday morning (and a slight detour by the bus driver) the team arrived in Den Willecom in high spirits. Saffron left for De Nachtegaal, the second venue, and the rest of the squad started their warm up and acclimatised to the huge twelve court hall.


olve hall

 

First up for Wales to start the competition was Adil and Archie in the U15 boys singles. Archie took on France’s Sacha Leveque. He battled hard through the nerves of his opening game but could not get the better of Leveque losing his games 13-21, 9-21. Adil took on England's Prithvi Sekar and although he was not feeling 100% he was able to play a solid, steady game and finish with a win (21-15, 21-17). Soon after, Tom began his campaign in the boy’s singles by taking on England's Zack Brobowski. Tom made a tentative start but soon found his rhythm, narrowly missing out in the first game 15-21, then in the second game Brobowski stepped it up a gear beating Tom 10-21. Daniel was the last of the U15 boys to start the singles. He took on Germany's Julian Blaumoser. A nervous start left Daniel with a 12-21 loss in the first game but he was able to dig deep and take control in the second game winning 21-19. In the third end Daniel continued to work hard but he could not quite get the better of Blaumoser losing 14-21 in the final game. Lowri was the first of our girls to start the U15 girls singles. For a group stage game, this looked more like a final with Lowri taking on Emilie Drouin from France. Both players gave their all but it was the French girl who took the game 19-21, 21-23 leaving Lowri hoping that she would meet her opponent at a later stage in the competition for a rematch.

 

Meanwhile, over in De Nachtegaal, Saffron was about to start her U11s singles campaign against Belgium’s Mila Buyck. Saffron proved to be too strong for the Belgian and walked away with the game 21-7, 21-2.

 

Back in Den Willecom, Adil was ready for his second group game against Belgium’s Jonah De Smedt. Adil took the first game 21-15 and looked positive going into the second. The Belgian then dug deep to take the second game 16-21, however this was not going to shake the cool and collected Adil as he displayed great skill and style to take the third game 21-16 finishing second in his group which meant he was through to the next round. Next up was Daniel against Spain’s Juan Canton. Both boys demonstrated a very similar style of play with long, controlled rallies. The first game went to the Spaniard 24-22. Daniel remained as calm and collected as ever and made a good, positive start in the second game which he won 21-13. With his opponent looking tired Daniel made the most of this and sticking with his patient, consistent style of play he took the third game 21-18.

 

After two close boys’ singles, it was Tom’s turn to play his next game against Belgium’s Mathieu Huberty. Tom looked pumped and ready to go and made a good positive start with a 21-17 win. The Belgian then came back fighting, and using some mind games, he was able to take the second game from Tom 11-21. It was time for Tom to show that the mind games were not going to get the better of him and he attacked the third game with plenty of grit and determination and finished with a 21-15 win. This was not the end for Tom however as he was in a group of four so still had a game to play.


olve tom

Thomas Morgan

 

After waiting around all morning, it was finally time for Jasmine to start the U15 girls singles. She took on Belgium’s Lien Lammertyn who proved to be a strong opponent. Despite this, Jasmine approached the game positively and showed good improvements in the second game but wasn’t quite able to get the better of the Belgian, finally losing the game 9-21 and 14-21. Over in the Under 11s, Saffron continued to prove that she was not to be messed with after another clear win, this time against France’s Agathe Cuevas. Saffron finished the game quickly 21-6, 21-8.

 

Back to the Under 15 boys singles, and it was Archie’s turn to play his second group game. This time he took on Scotland’s Lewis Hart. A confident start, saw Archie take his first game 21-13. His Scottish opponent then came back fighting and took the second game 11-21. It was now all to play for. Archie dug deep and played some great attacking badminton in his third game. The game was close all the way through but Archie could not quite hang on at the end as Hart took the third game 17-21 putting an end to Archie’s time in the boys singles. Daniel had one group game left to play and this was against France’s Alexandre Poiree. Daniel kept the crowd on the edge of their seats for his first game. As the two boys battled point for point, Daniel was able to clinch the first game 22-20. Feeling positive going into the second game, and having a slight mental edge Daniel was then able to cruise to a slightly more comfortable 21-16 win in and this meant he was able to progress to the next round.

 

With her earlier battle still in her mind, it was Lowri’s turn to return to court which she did in style against Sophie Mayer from the Netherlands. This time Lowri was able to show her dominance on the singles court and displayed a high level of attacking play beating Mayer comfortably 21-6, 21-4, putting her through to the next round. Tom was up next to play his third and final group game and although he was positive after his earlier victory his opponent, Dyon Van Wijlick from the Netherlands, proved to be too strong on this occasion and took the game from Tom 10-21, 10-21, ending Tom’s campaign in the boys singles. Jasmine’s final game was against Novi Wieland from the Netherlands. Jasmine made a strong start, playing some long rallies and some great attacking shots. Wieland took the first game 19-21 but it could have gone either way. In the second game Wieland proved to be very fit and was able to get the better of a tiring Jasmine taking the game 12-21 and putting an end to Jasmine’s time in the singles.

 

While all these singles were going on, Michael was making a start on his campaign in the Under 17 mixed doubles. He had been partnered with Gunjan Randhawa from England and their first game was against Eubil Cabije and Ine Van Wouwe from Belgium. Michael and Gunjan made a positive start taking the first game 21-14 but the Belgians fought back in the second game and won 16-21. With Gunjan attacking the net fiercely and Michael’s clever touch, the Welsh/English duo were able to take the third game comfortably 21-10. With the Under 17’s being a straight knockout the pair were on to the next round where they met a Portuguese pair – Nuno Gomes and Ana Fernandes. Michael and Gunjan dominated this game from beginning to end, giving very little to their opponents and winning 21-7, 21-10. In the next round they faced Sweden’s Ludvig Petre Olsson and Sofia Larsson. On this occasion it would be the Swedish pair who would prove too much for Michael and Gunjan, winning the game 9-21, 10-21 but as this pair would progress right through to the finals, this was certainly a result to be proud of. In the Under 17s boys singles Michael faced Spain’s Carlos Piris. Michael built some good rallies and played with guts against the strong Spaniard, but in the end it was Piris who would put an end to Michael’s time in the singles winning the games 11-21, 11-21.

With the early stages of the singles over, all eyes were now on the mixed doubles. Saffron had been partnered with France’s Leo Gregoire Saoula and despite some language barriers, the two got on well. Saffron was able to take control in their group games which they won without any difficulties. The Welsh/French pair beat Belgium’s Jelle Van Dessel and Mila Buyck 21-6, 21-17. They beat France’s Melvin Fournier and Victorine Bonheur 21-11, 21-9 and Belgium’s Rune Verbist and Fae Boonen 21-12, 21-11 leaving them winners of their group and through to the next round.  The under 15s mixed was a straight knockout competition. Adil was partnered with France’s Perryne Canfarotta. The pair faced another scratch pair - Prithvi Sekar (England) and Ania Setien (Spain). The English/Spanish pairing started the match with an 18-21 win but the Welsh/French combo retaliated with a 21-18 win in the second game. It was clear that this game could go either way. In the third game the English/Spanish pair seemed to gain more of a rhythm over the Welsh/French who unfortunately lost 12-21. Daniel and Jasmine were hoping for Welsh success in their match against France’s Mael Cattoen and Nadege Duron. They made a strong start, putting the French under pressure in many rallies but couldn’t quite clinch the game which finished 15-21 to France. In the second game the French pair really raised their game, putting lots of pressure on the Welsh pair and winning 8-21. This was the last game of Saturday’s play for Wales and so it was back to the hotel and straight to bed to get ready for another long day’s play.

olve archie
Archie Bult (right)

Sunday would see the start of the doubles competitions. Tom and Archie had been told they now had a bye through to the next round and so they had a bit of a wait. Adil and Daniel would be the first to take the stage for Wales against a scratch pairing – Louis Liebart (France) and Jerome Pauquet (Netherlands). This strong pairing certainly made life difficult for Daniel and Adil and although the Welsh boys worked hard they were unable to overcome the France/Netherlands pair, finally losing the game 9-21, 12-21. Jasmine had been partnered with France’s Manon Souverain in the girls’ doubles and proved that a language barrier was not going to stop them as they beat England’s Megan Brierley and Lavigne Leung 21-14, 21-15.

With the doubles underway there was still plenty of hope left for the Welsh in the singles competitions. Adil was the first to play his next round game and he took on Spain’s Juan Canton who Daniel had played yesterday. Adil was still not feeling great but wanted to give it a go. In his first game he struggled to get the better of Canton, losing 14-21 but after a quick re-group Adil was able to demonstrate great mental strength once again and proceeded to take the next two games 21-16 and 21-16 meaning he was through to the last sixteen! Daniel’s second round game was against England’s Prithvi Sekar. Daniel opened once again with a strong display of patience and consistency and took the first match 21-18. Sekar then went on to take the second game winning by a very small margin 20-22. Historically Daniel has shown that he copes well in a long three setter due to his good level of fitness and this match was certainly no exception as he cruised through the third game to win 21-12 also putting him through to the last 16 with Adil.

Over in De Nachtegaal Saffron was ready to start the Under 11s girls doubles. She had been partnered with Belgium’s Silke Decostere and just like she had in the mixed, Saffron was able to take control of all their group games. The Welsh/Belgian pair won their first game against Belgium’s Mila Buyck and Zhao Delarue 21-4, 21-10. They had a slightly harder game against the French pairing of Agathe Cuevas and Justine Ly but still managed to claim the games 21-16 and 21-11. The only game to cause them any difficulty was against the Belgian pair Fae Boonen and Lieke Van Parijs. After a confident 21-13 win for the Saffron and Silke, the Belgian pair then fought back to take the second game 18-21. It was time for Saffron to really display her dominance on court which she did in style in the third game and with some great attacking play she took her and Silke to a clear 21-8 victory and they finished top of their group.

Lowri was next on, back in Den Willecom, for her next round singles match against Russia’s Anna Kirillova. Lowri made a tentative start but was soon able to fire herself up and go on to win the first game 21-17. The Russian was not about to give up in the second game and the two girls fought point for point in a tight second game which ended 21-23 to Kirillova. However, once again, Lowri was able to use her fiery fighting spirit to take control of the third game and win the final game 21-14 putting her through to the last sixteen!

After a bye through the first round it was time for Archie and Tom to play the second round of the boys doubles against Germany’s Julian Blaumoser and Kilian Maurer. This was always going to be a tough game, especially having not played a first round game to help them settle, but after a good warm up Tom and Archie were positive going onto court. The Welsh boys played some good tactical doubles rallies but found it difficult to get anything past the strong German pair who went on to win the match 12-21, 7-21 and then progress through to the semi-finals. Jasmine and her French partner Manon were next on to play their last 16 game against Belgium’s Charlotte Dewagemacker and Karla Henry. The pair supported and encouraged each other well with lots of high fiving and back tapping and with Jasmine’s strength and Manon’s tactical awareness the two were able to win the match 21-14, 21-15 putting them through to the quarter finals!

olve jaz
Jasmine Owen and Manon Souverain

The next round of games was last 16 of the boys U15 singles. Adil was first on court against England’s Stephen Jong. Adil stayed strong and remained calm but Jong made swift work of this game winning it 13-21 and 10-21. Daniel was able to get closer to winning his last 16 match against Russia’s Maksim Ogloblin. Although Ogloblin took the first game 13-21, Daniel was able to exploit a slight weakness in Ogloblin’s game which forced quite a lot of errors and helped Daniel to a 21-18 win. The third end saw both boys go through spates of points where one would gain a row of points and then the other would come back. Unfortunately, the Russian had the final run of points and took the game 15-21 but Daniel was left feeling positive knowing he had performed well. Lowri’s last 16 game against England’s Lavigne Leung was a singles master class from Lowri who dominated her opponent to a 21-15, 21-12 win and making her Wales’ first semi-finalist.

In the Under 11s mixed quarter Finals, Saffron and Leo (France) took on Viktor Patteet and Lieke Van Parijs from Belgium. The Welsh/French pair got off to a strong start and won the first game by a convincing 21-7. The Germans put up more of a fight in the second game but still could not work out what to do with Saffron’s strength and court awareness so Saffron and Leo took the game 21-15 putting them through to the semi-finals. Saffron continued her success in her singles quarter final beating Belgium’s Noa Dauphinais 21-7, 21-12 making that her third semi-final!

Jasmine and Manon’s campaign in the U15 girls doubles came to an end in the quarter finals as they faced Mette Blume (Denmark) and Yasmine Hamza (Italy). The first game was won by the Danish/Italian pair 8-21 and although Jasmine and Manon came back fighting in the second they couldn’t quite manage to get the better of the scratch pairing and lost 17-21. The final game for the Sunday was Lowri’s singles quarter final against Amanda Abidgarrd from Denmark and although the Dane tried many tactics, Lowri was just too strong and walked away with the games 21-14, 21-5. After another long but successful day the Welsh team left the hall on high spirits knowing they had all performed well and excited about the prospect of four semi-finals to support and cheer for!

olve fun
Grace Sachdeva, Saffron and Tom having fun

At Den Willecom on the Monday morning, the hall had been set with six hover courts, umpires chairs, a viewing gallery and a VIP area, all of which created a very professional and exciting atmosphere. The order of play for the day had been set and it was Saffron’s mixed semi-final with Leo (France) that would be the first game for Wales. They took on England’s Sonish Hathi and Grace Sachdeva who Saffron has played before and she knew this was not going to be easy. The four kept the crowd on the edge of their seats in the first game which the English pair just clinched 23-25. Unfortunately, after a change of tactics, the English pair were able to dominate in the second game and took it 10-21 but they then went on to win the whole event which should be some consolation for Saffron and her French partner.


The second semi-final for Wales was Lowri’s U15 singles against Spain’s Ania Setien. Both players put on an excellent display of singles, both were aggressive and both moved around the court well – this was going to be a tight game. The first game went right to the wire but Lowri was able to claim it 27-25! Feeling positive and pumped up going into the second game Lowri certainly had the mental edge and although the game was still close, Lowri took this one 21-18 making Lowri Wales’ first finalist.

Saffron’s singles Semi-final was next against England’s Grace Sachdeva, an opponent who she has met three times before and beaten twice so she knew it was definitely possible but was going to be really tough. Saffron seemed tense in her first game while her English opponent remained calm on court and took the first game 16-21. In the second game, Saffron again started off a little tense giving her opponent the lead but then Saffron started to relax and got into her rhythm, displaying the type of controlled and consistent game we know she is capable of. Unfortunately, it was just a little too late and Sachdeva claimed the game 14-21 and went on to win the Final much more comfortably.

Saffron would now need to re-group to be able to focus on her doubles with Belgian partner Silke. They were to face Noa Dauphinais (Belgium) and Flora Wang (Netherlands). Using Saffron’s strength and agility and Silke’s consistent serve and net play the scratch pair were able to win 21-17, 21-19 sending them through to the final!

olve saff and silke
Saffron and Silke

The first of the two finals was Lowri’s singles against Russia’s Vasilisa Kuznetcova. From the outset it was clear that both players were certainly up for this match but it was Kuznetcova who dominated in the first game, taking it 10-21. Lowri showed real mental toughness and physical fitness in the second game producing longer, more controlled rallies to try to wear the Russian down but on this occasion, it was the Russian who came out victorious winning the second game 15-21. A great display of skill and determination from both girls.

olve lowri medal
Lowri Hart on the podium

The second and last of our finals was Saffron’s doubles with Silke against England’s Lucy Brierley and Grace Sachdeva, who Saffron had faced in the singles. Against an established English pairing, this game was going to be difficult for our scratch pair and Silke looked nervous. Saffron tried everything in her power to take control of the rallies but the English pair were quick to pick out the weaknesses in a less experienced Silke. The English pair took the games 10-21 and 13-21 but Saffron and Silke can hold their heads high knowing they made it all the way to an international final having never played together before!

And so that marked the end of a very successful Victor Junior OLVE tournament for Wales! All the coaches were extremely pleased with every players’ performances. It is clear that their hard work and dedication is paying off as every one of them continues to improve technically, tactically and mentally. They displayed high levels of professionalism both on and off court and were a credit to Badminton Wales and to themselves. The future is certainly bright for this group of young, Welsh players!

Welsh Juniors
Finalists, Lowri Hart and Saffron Morris


 Full results can be found here:

U11 - U15

U17

Badminton Wales would like to thank the parents and Coaching Team who travelled to Belgium. The Coaching Team included; Nic Strange, Huw John and Judith Hughes. Thanks also to Judith Hughes for composing this report.