(Photo: Badminton Europe)
What happened when live badminton returned?
Date: 8/31/2020 9:03 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Live badminton returned with the Latvia International 2020 this weekend. Find out which player managed to win the treble. 

Europe breathed a small sigh of relief with the return of live streaming to the platform. Players who could travel, were in Jelgava, Latvia last weekend and competed in the Latvia International 2020. There were many rules in the Zemgales Olimpiskais centrs to keep everyone safe, but the rules on court were the same ones we have missed so much. 

Badminton Europe’s Deputy General Secretary, Jimmy Andersen, expressed his delight with the tournament going ahead.

-We are very pleased with the dedication and persistency shown by the Latvian organisers, in particular by Kristians Rozenvalds (LBF General Secretary). He wanted this event to go ahead, and he deserves full credit for making it possible for international badminton to return.

However, Jimmy Andersen is all too aware that there are a lot of steps still to be taken in order to achieve a full return of badminton when he says. 

-It was a first step towards getting back to normal – but there is a long way to go. We are still facing cancellations from all over the Continent, but with this tournament being played, there is hope that we are now moving towards better times.

All the Baltic nations were represented with Lithuania, Estonia and of course hosts Latvia. Players also came from Italy and Germany. However, it was the Estonian contingent who dominated in all categories. Out of the 20 available podium spots, 12 were filled by Estonians. 

Laanes treble
Laanes, 23, completed a perfect tournament treble in the maximum three categories. A sight rarely seen in modern badminton. Earlier this year, Laanes with his men’s doubles partner, Mikk Järveoja, reached the quarterfinals at their home Estonian International. In fact, defeating compatriots Karl Kert and Hans-Kristjan Pilve along the way. In Latvia, the final was an all Estonian affair, where Laanes/ Järveoja took on Kert again with his new partner Mihkel Talts. It was an entertaining three-game final ending 23-21, 15-21, 21-13.
In the men’s singles, Laanes was seeded number three and had to face his men’s doubles partner in the semifinal. Coming out victorious after a three-game battle, he faced Pilve in the final. Yet another tight three-game match ensued, with Laanes coming out on top 21-12, 18-21, 21-16. 

In the mixed doubles, luckily for Laanes, things were a little simpler. Partnering with a ten-time women’s doubles title winner, Helina Rüütel, and with the number one seeds from Belgium, Van Nieuwkerke/ Jaques pulling out, they cruised to the title without dropping a game. 
Kruus control
A surprise unseeded winner in the women’s singles was a player just shy of her seventeenth birthday, Catlyn Kruus. In 2018, Kruus won the Polish U17 International in singles, last year the Lithuanian Junior in women’s doubles, and now her first senior title. She had to overcome two strong Italian talents in Katherina Fink in the semifinal, winning the deciding game 21-15, and then Yasmine Hamza in the final, 21-15, 21-16. 

In the women’s doubles, the reigning champions, Helina Rüütel and Kati-Kreet Marran did the business again with an efficient performance. They defeated the Italian duo of Fink and Hamza in the final 21-11, 21-12. 

For the full results, click here

The tournament was a success and surrounded by a lot of excitement. There is also the hope that Latvia can be used as an example for other organisers – that it is possible to host an international tournament during these difficult times. Jimmy Andersen, looking to the future, adds. 

-BWF has taken an important step towards getting the best players and the best badminton back – we all hope the three events in Denmark will go ahead, and that the World Class players will then able to travel to Asia for the next tournaments.

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