Jack Medals at Europeans
Last week the European Para-Badminton Championships were taking place in Beek, Holland and Wales was being represented by Jack Wilson.
This was Jack's first European Championships and in preparation for the event he upped his training: "Preparation for the Europeans was very different to previous tournaments. Coaching sessions with Rhys Pritchard twice a week and having a lot more singles match practice and singles based routines over the last few months."
Jack told us he was quite nervous ahead of the draw being announced but after seeing who his opponents would be he settled down. He
went in to the tournament unseeded and found himself placed in a group with James Binnie (ENG) and second seed Ilker Tuzcu (TUR).
"I knew how to play James and after winning the first match I seemed to settle down and play some of my best badminton to date." Jack beat Binnie 21-13, 21-18 but lost to Tuzcu 10-21, 16-21 but he still advanced to the Quarter Finals after Tuzcu beat Binnie in straight sets.
In his Quarter Final Jack faced Mark Modderman (NED) who was heavily supported by the home crowd! But Jack didn't let that faze him, in fact he thrived on it. "The Wuarter Finals was probably my favourite match of the whole tournament. The whole crowd were all for Mark but I listened to every word Lyndon Williams told me; no silly mistakes, play my game, make him move a lot and I always felt in control of the match." Jack's confidence was clear to see as he won the match 21-16, 21-16 securing himself a place in the Semi Finals and a medal!
(Lyndon Williams coaching Jack Wilson)
In the Semi Finals Jack faced top seed Bartolmiej Mroz (POL) which he lost in straight sets. "The Semi Finals was a very different match. Playing the first seed for the first time was still a very exciting match despite the result. His intensity was constant and there wasn't one relaxed rally. It was all a big learning curve for me and I'm sure I'll have a tighter game next time. The match result was disappointing but I can hardly complain at getting a medal at my first European Championships!"
In the doubles Jack was paired with French player Meril Loquette. While he had goals of reaching the Semi Finals of the Singles ahead of the tournament he had no set goals for doubles as he and his partner had never met up until this competition. But it seemed to be a match made in badminton heaven as they eased their way through their first match against Donker & Massen (NED) 21-5, 21-10. Their success continued in the next match taking out the third seeds Dietel & Schnitzler (GER) in a tough three set match 21-12, 15-21, 21-13.
(Jack Wilson and French partner Meril Loquette)
The draw for the Quarter Finals was conducted and saw Jack & Meril facing the German pair once again. This time they had their tactics down to a tee and won in two sets 21-13, 21-16 securing another medal for Jack.
In the Semi Finals they faced second seeds James Binnie & Mark Modderman (ENG/NED). Jack took confidence from his wins over both players in the Singles on to the Doubles court and the match was won 21-15, 21-19.
The Final saw Jack & Meril face the top seeds and Gold and Silver Singles medallists Ilker Tuzcu & Bartolmiej Mroz (TUR/POL) who dominated the whole competition. Unfortunately they proved too strong for Jack & Meril and the pairs run of wins came to an end. "Meril is a fantastic doubles player. His English is fairly good which meant the language barrier wasn't an issue. Beating the third seeds twice and the second seeds in the Semi Finals was great momentum ahead of the Final. Unfortunately nerves definitely played a part in the final, we both started too slow in the first set but in the second set we played with a bit more freedom and made it a much closer game but couldn't create enough of a rhythm to build upon. Although I'm disappointed to lose after getting so far, reaching my first international Doubles Final is a huge accomplishment that I'm happy to have achieved."
Badminton Wales are incredibly proud of Jack's achievements of a Bronze and Silver Medal at his first European Championships.
Thanks go to Lyndon Williams for coaching Jack at the event and to Andrew Elias for providing us with photographs in between his Line Judging duties at the event.
For all results from the European Para Badminton Championships please click here.