The European Championships continued in Karlskrona, Sweden on Wednesday but alas no happy ending for either Chloe or Sam Magee on a day that resulted in some ‘highs’ though predominantly ‘lows’ for the Donegal siblings, The players – and their mentors – will be going away from the event knowing they had a good opportunity to go further.
Badminton is a sport which has huge potential in Ireland but it does need much more funding than is currently available if it is to prosper against the leading European nations, and also needs more sponsors and better media coverage especially in the nationals. OK so other sports also have similar needs but the current crop of Irish international players and those targeting the 2016 and 2020 games do have great future potential but do need greater support NOW, not in four or five years time.
The Irish team had prepared well in the lead up to this event. From April 2nd to 6th players targeting the 2016 and 2020 games trained alongside Chloe Magee in her preparation for the Europeans. The camp looked at areas of Fitness Testing, On-court training, off-court Gym training, and Psychology of the game, having a winning attitude.
And so to yesterday’s play in Karlskrona.
Chloe faced Natalia Perminova of Russia who pulled of a huge upset beating world number 44 Larisa Griga of Ukraine in an Epic three set match. Magee against Perminova was the first game on-court and both players were hoping to replicate their good form from the previous day.
Magee started well dictating the pace and lead 8-3. From this point in the match the Russian’s nerves settled and the game began to open up. Magee went down at the 11 point interval but then came out fighting. Chloe reached game point first but despite having two chances to win the game she was unable to convert either game point as the feisty Russian stole the opening set 25-23.
Chloe took the opening set defeat badly and lost some focus. A series of misjudged shuttles and unforced errors gave the Russian a commanding lead. Chloe’s frustration continued to grow as the Russian continued to build on her opening set. Perminova went on to win the match and secure a last 16 spot in a 37 minute match.
In the mixed Doubles Irish number ones Chloe and Sam Magee world ranked 39 faced the Russian combination of Sergey Lunev & Evgenia Dimova of Russia. The Russian pair had demolished Serbian duo ,Pavlovich & Simic 21-10 21-5 in only 17 minutes in day one.
The Irish pair stayed focused in the opening set and controlled the front-court and mid-court exchange with the Russian combination. Sam and Chloe took the opener 21-19. The Irish pair looked on course ,however, a lack of concentration at 11-10 up in the second set let the Russian pair back in.
Dimova attacked the net and set up the attacking play of Lunev from the back as the Russians powered their way to a 21-16 second set. In the third set both pairs played some very aggressive badminton; as they continued the fight to maintain the attack. The Russian pair was able to get more of the winners in the big points towards the end and this was enough for them to edge out a 21-17 victory.
Badminton Ireland National Coach Daniel Magee commented “Some good performances by the Irish players but I feel they will go away from this tournament and look back at it as a missed opportunity to have gone further”