Lowri's great learning experience

Posted by Rob Short at 03:12 on 12 December 2017

European U17 Event

With a successful Welsh International Badminton Championships dominating Welsh badminton focus last week, and Jordan Hart producing a gutsy semi-final appearance, many may have missed her younger sister, Lowri, returning from Prague having competed in the European U17 event. This was Lowri’s first venture into this level of competition and what a learning experience it was.

The European U17’s is one of Badminton Europe’s flagship events.  It has over 300 competitors and runs over two weeks for the team and individual events.  This event is almost as big as any event in the world.

Lowri was given a very tough assignment being drawn against No. 3 seed Kitti Szotak of Hungary.  While she played with all the desire and fight expected she could not get the positive result against a player nearly 3 years her senior.  Lowri’s immediate reaction was to show her strength of character and thirst for knowledge on how to improve her game.  Off to the practice court she went. No doubt next time at this event she will be far better prepared.  

For those who have not been to such an event it may be interesting to note some of the occurrences and how well Lowri performed having experienced them.

Familiarity of an event like this is vital for a good performance.  The logistics can be at best disconcerting, at worst overwhelming.  On arrival Lowri headed to the main hall and tried to get on the courts for a hit but the referee had stopped all play prior to the individual tournament getting underway.  She headed to the practice hall which was over an hour away due to traffic.  There she had a good hit and felt good.  Another hour back to the hall then a further hour before we could return to the hotel.  She earned her rest that night.

Next morning, she arrived very early for her match but not early enough as the referee had again stopped play on the courts.  Lowri was unable to get on the tournament court to get a feel for the length and speed of it.  In most events you warm up as usual and when it is time, you walk on court and play.  For this event, Lowri had to go to a “holding area” where the Umpire carried out a technical check.  Lowri had her clothing checked that it complied with BE advertising regulations and they measured the letters for the correct size and proportion.  Any infringement on this represents a €250 fine.  So, while you warm up then you may have to stand around for up to 20-30 minutes prior to getting on court.  Lowri then had 3 minutes to try and get a feel for a court that her opponent had been playing on for the previous 6 days.  On completion of the match players must leave the court “in the correct fashion” which can again lead to a fine if not done so.  All a new experience for Lowri.

Once she had warmed down we watched the play unfold before Lowri asked to go to the practice court and start working on things to help her improve.  Then back to the hall to watch her victor play again.  Lowri continued this for the next couple of days and practised unbelievably well, all the time looking at the technical changes required to help her improve.  Just prior to pick up we were all fortunate to get a break from the hall to head in to Prague and have a look around the beautiful old city.

Lowri will be back at this tournament and she will be better prepared.  She works hard and has a family support that is of great strength to her.  She can add to her training with regular visits to her sister, Jordan, in Loughborough.  She is part of the SW Regional Academy under the watchful eye of Huw John who is always helping her work on things.  Perhaps if things go her way the next report on a European U17 Badminton championship will have a much better result attached.  With Lowri Hart, the sky is the limit.  Well done Lowri!