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  • Polish teams dominated at the Polish Youth Team Cup 2018 in Lubin.

Polish teams dominated at the Polish Youth Team Cup 2018 in Lubin.

Poland A won against Poland B
Big emotions, fierce and very demanding matches, great atmosphere, perfect organization, the competition of eight teams and a new system of counting points - this is how we can briefly summarize the first Polish Youth Team Cup 2018.

Polish Youth Team Cup 2018 is a tournament different from the usual ones in numerous respects. In this friendly competition, each of the eight teams consisted of 10 players and played 10 matches. Every set was important. There was no time for even a moment of distraction.

At the end of August, the juniors from Poland (from the Lower Silesia and Opole voivodships, as well as national teams of Poland A and B), Belarus, Latvia, and Slovakia came to Lubin. In the first stage, the matches were played by “everyone with everyone” system in 10 games: two women's and men's singles, two men's and women's doubles and two mixed-team games. In the second stage, teams placing 4th in their groups fought for the 7-8 place; 3rd place- for the 5-6 place; 2nd - for the 3-4 place and 1st - for 1-2 place.

A duel of junior national teams
On the courts of the Second High School in Lubin sports hall, performance of Poles was the best. Poland A team won in the final against Poland B. The third place was taken by the Slovaks and the fourth by the Belarussians. The fifth place went to Latvia, the sixth to the team from Lower Silesia, and the seventh to team from Opole Voivodeship.

Team Poland A, composed of: Mikołaj Szymanowski, Jakub Melaniuk, Joanna Podedworny, Anna Czuchra, Szymon Ślepecki, Andrzej Niczyporuk, Julia Pławecka, Daria Zimnol, Anastasiia Kosenchuk and Adrian Krawczyk was second to none. Performance of Poland B team, composed of Maksymilian Danielak, Dominika Gajda, Kinga Stokwisz, Dawid Perkowski, Mateusz Golas, Aleksander Mitroszewski, Martyna Kowalczyk, Maja Janko, Julia Wójcik and Dominik Kwinta, was also fantastic.

- It was a very nice tournament. We gained some new experience, although we expected the teams to be a little better. The most important thing is that we have fulfilled our task and won - said Andrzej Niczyporuk.

- I'm glad that I could play with players from other countries - added Maja Janko.

Coaches: it's experience that counts
Jacek Niedźwiedzki, junior national team coach, positively evaluates the Lubin tournament. He believes that it was a good opportunity to observe the young Polish players and assess how they perform in team competitions.

- I was observing especially the younger team – Poland B, in which players from years 2006 and 2007 were playing. They did a good job - praised Jacek Niedźwiedzki. - The European leaders (Denmark, France, and Germany) weren't here, but the players had a chance to gain some new experience - this is very important. Both teams A and B entered the finals. It was the team B that particularly surprised us when they won with the strong, first team of Belarus, with older players. The winners were girls from 2006/2007 and even the boy from 2006. So you can see that we have a future.

Every set counts
The tournament in Lubin was an opportunity not only to check against the rivals from other countries but also to learn how to play in a team. Badminton is an individual sport and players are not focusing on the team's results on an everyday basis. This time the goal of the team was in the first place, also because of points counting system, which was different than usual. During the Polish Youth Team Cup 2018 matches were played by a 5x11 system, with three sets won up to 11 points, without any increase. The final result of the team consisted of the number of won sets, not entire games.

- In this system, each set can decide on the outcome of the match, it motivates children to compete - said Krzysztof Maślanka, junior national team coach. - It is a good thing. A child who is weaker feels that something depends on him. The whole team motivates such a person to win even one set. For example, one set decided in the game with Opole against Latvia B. In the end, we did not win, but I think it's a valuable experience because children also have to be able to deal with pressure.

Jan Fil, the coach of the Slovakian team, admitted that the system to 11 points is much faster and therefore more difficult for players who need to be very focused. - The player must fight for each exchange, each point. It is a good experience - summed up the Slovak coach.

The referee Tomasz Rogowski also thinks that the 5x11 system requires much more from players.

- There are no empty shuttles in this system - you can not let go of any point. A simple matter - 11 points passes very quickly. If someone loses two or three points, there is actually no way to make them up - the main referee of the tournament explained. - The system is rarely in usage nowadays. It was being used a few years ago as an experimental system but was then rejected by BWF so the 3x21 system - up to two won sets, is still in use.

An interesting spectacle
Kristians Rozenvalds from the Latvian Badminton Federation believes that this system is more interesting for fans and people watching badminton matches on TV.

- It is also better for organizers and athletes. It allows them to use their skills more. When there are 21 points, matches are more physically exhausting, and this creates a danger of doping - noted the Latvian public relations expert. - In the system up to 11 points, you need more concentration than physical strength. A faster game has one more advantage - it is more interesting for viewers. And sport must be an interesting show if we want to show it on television.

Great conditions, friendly atmosphere
The players who competed in Lubin and their coaches appreciated the conditions in the hall, the city, and the atmosphere during the tournament.

- I made new friends. I really like the friendly atmosphere - said Veranika Tarusava from Belarus. - Matches were hard, but I had the opportunity to play with stronger rivals. Even when I made mistakes, nobody mistreated me. It was very nice. Communication at this tournament was very good.

The coach of the Belarusian team, Anatoly Khmaruk, came to Lubin for the second time and said that he is glad to be here: The city is comfortable and interesting - I enjoy it. In addition, the roads are good so the travel is pleasant.

Kristians Rozenvalds recalls that two years ago Badminton Europe awarded Lotka Lubin with the prize for the best organization of the competition.

- Being here, I understand why Lotka Lubin got this award. The tournament is wonderfully prepared: accommodation, catering, the atmosphere between people, medals, information, streaming from the courts, t-shirts, presents from the city - everything is great - said Kristians Rozenvalds. - If you're from here, maybe you think it's normal. No, this is not normal - it is unique.