Our young badminton players finished their participation in Polish U17 International Championships with six medals. Five of them are bronze, while mixed team players Zuzanna Luban and Mikołaj Wrzalik got to stand at the top of the podium.
The course of Polish U17 International Championships (30.08 -01.09 in Lubin) was extremely exciting - until the semi-finals, it seemed that our young badminton players had a chance to win this competition. Kajetan Jeziak, Aleksandra Radziszewska, Mikołaj Piórkowski / Mikołaj Wrzalik, Zuzanna Jankowska / Aleksandra Kiryluk, and Szymon Maciąg / Julia Pławecka, as well as Mikołaj Wrzalik / Zuzanna Luban, had all advanced to the semi-finals.
Unfortunately, only the last pair managed to defeat their opponents and advance to the finals. They played an exciting but difficult meeting with the Germans - Kian-Yu Oei and Lucie Wagner. They won 2:1 (15-21, 21-13, 21-13), but they had to work for 45 minutes for the victory.
The final match, which our team played with the Czech couple - Lukasz Frank and Nela Nemcova - was much easier. Czechs, who on previous stages of the tournament beat another Polish mixed team (Szymon Maciąg and Julia Pławecka), this time were quickly deprived of any hopes of winning. They were defeated in two quick sets: 21-12 and 21-18. The whole match lasted only 23 minutes.
The rest of the Polish semi-finalists had to recognize the superiority of their opponents. But the bronze medals are also a great result.
The stars of the competition
The male star of the tournament was the already mentioned German representative - Kian Yu Oei. This excellent badminton player eliminated his opponent Kajetan Jeziak in the semi-finals in two sets (21-12, 21-11). In the final, however, he had to recognize the superiority of Estonian Arthur Ajupov, who quickly defeated him 0: 2 (14-21, 13-21).
He bounced back from this failure by winning the gold medal in doubles. Playing with Kilian Maurer, he defeated his colleagues from German national team - Ben Gatzsche and Daniel Stratenka 2:0 (21-17, 21-18). So he returned home with three medals: gold, silver, and bronze.
It was the young Czech player Katerina Mikelova who was a star among women. It is true that her hopes for gold in singles were dispelled by Estonian Catlyn Kruus who won 2: 1 (21-12, 9-21, 21-18). Nevertheless, in doubles, the highest place on the podium was taken by the Czech team. Mikelova, playing with Nela Nemcova, defeated Estonians - Catlyn Kruus and Ramona Uprus with the same score, so 2: 1 (20-22, 21-8, 21-17). It is worth stressing that it was an extremely fierce match. It was also the longest match in the finals. Reaching the victory took the Czech players 48 minutes!
The Estonian players who won two gold medals and one silver medal may also consider the Polish U17 International Championships extremely successful for them.
A great test for young players
Poles, both players, and their coaches admitted that the Lubin tournament was an excellent test before the future meetings with the best European badminton players (no top players from Western Europe were present at the competition).Damian Pławecki, a coach, and privately father of our bronze medalist Julia Pławecka, admitted that sometimes in such a duo there is a problem with emotions. - We learn to control them. It's mainly about me because Julia functions normally. I am trying to measure this so that she can play calmly as a player and not be stressed by what her father says - he explained. - I'm learning. There are more emotions, but I try to approach it professionally and be fairly objective - he explained.
He admitted that the tournament in the capital of Polish Copper was also a great opportunity to see "how to do it". Soon, his club UKS Plesbad Pszczyna will be the organizer of a similar tournament. - We try to prepare for it as best as possible. We learn from the best and we would like to do this tournament nicely. Here, in Lubin tournaments have always been very well organized, which is why we observe and learn - he said with a smile. - We have already organized the Polish Junior and Youth Championships, but this is an international tournament. So we are observing the differences, we are looking at what we were lacking then, to make a decent international tournament now - he added with a smile.
A lot has been done. We're counting for more...
Guardians of the young Polish badminton players followed their success with great hope and joy. Szymon Kostka, UKS Bieruń coach, emphasized that players from years 2002-2003 and a few younger ones, from 2004 and 2005 performed very well at the Polish U17 International Championships. Here we have an overview of four years. There is really quite a lot of these talented players. The whole badminton environment should be happy about it. It sure makes the coaches happy - he emphasized. - I believe that the greater the competition in Poland - stronger competition between our players, the higher level we represent. As it is today, when we are going to the Czech Republic, to Austria, to Germany, we are competing with the local players as equals. Most importantly, this does not apply to one or two of our badminton players, but a large group of them. And here I see the chances that by the next year's European Championships (though I do not want to jinx it...) we will be a strong team. It makes me happy! - he added.