The individual event of the Yonex World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru starts today. We’ll have a look at the potential medal candidates from Europe in all five categories.
To win medals at World Junior Badminton Championships has always been a big task for European shuttlers with all the tough competition you have to face from the strong Asian countries. Only a few Europeans have made it to the top of the podium in the World Junior event which is played since 1992.
The Dane Viktor Axelsen became the first ever European to be crowned World Junior Champion in the singles competition when he lifted the title in 2010. Before 2010 it was only Axelsen’s compatriots Jim Laugesen/Rikke Olsen in 1992 and Peter Gade/Peter Nissen in 1994 who were able to win the prestigious gold medals for the European continent. In the more recent past, England’s Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock took the silver medal in the mixed event in 2007.
There is one young men's singles player who showed the potential to follow in the footsteps of Viktor Axelsen. It’s Anders Antonsen (pictured)
, the current European Junior Champion from Denmark. Antonsen played a great season with winning the title at the 2015 Yonex Belgian International and is now seeking a medal in the world meet in Peru.
“I have to play my absolute best to achieve a medal in Peru - but I believe that it’s possible”
“My preparations for the World Juniors went well. During the summer my focus has mainly been to improve my physics which is necessary if I want to compete with the Asians. I think I need to really believe in my game but also to be able to change tactics from match to match. I have to play my absolute best to achieve a medal in Peru but I believe that it’s possible and I think I have showed a high level over last months.”
Anders Antonsen is the number three seed in Peru. He will face the winner of Woo Hyuk Kang (Korea) vs David King (England) in the second round. But his draw doesn't appear to be an easy one. Before Antonsen can worry about a potential quarterfinals match against Toma Junior Popov  of France or Satheishtharan R.  of Malaysia, he has to get out of the second round most likely against Korea’s Woo Hyuk Kang.
for the full men’s singles draw.
2015 European Junior Champion and former Danish National Champion, Mia Blichfeldt has a bye in the first round and then opens against the winner of Ren-Ne Ong (Singapore) vs Chile’s Loreto Pontigo. But Blichfeldt also faces a potential fourth-round match with strong Indonesian Jauza Fadhila Sugiarto and then – in the last 16 - Ye Rim Shim of Korea who has beaten her in the team event last week. If Blichfeldt manages to survive those players, she probably faces Pornpawee Chochuwong  of Thailand or Chen Yufei  of China in the quarterfinals.
Other European women’s singles shuttler who have the potential to shine in Lima are Germany’s unseeded Yvonne Li, the BEC Best European Junior Player of The Year 2014, and Julie Dawall Jakobsen, the number 8 seed from Denmark.
for the full women’s singles draw.
If there is any surprise produced by European man in the men’s doubles event, it's probably going to come from Joel Eipe/Frederik Søgaard, the number two seeds from Denmark. But the biggest challenge for the Danish duo will be to win the second round match against Shuto Morioka/Keita Ogawa of Japan. If they manage to beat the Japanese duo, a place in the quarter-finals seems to be very realistic.
for the full men’s doubles draw.
In the women’s doubles, the number 15 seed Vimala Heriau/Margot Lambert of France will face Anna Ching Yik Cheong/Mei Xing Teoh of Malaysia in the second round. The talented Estonian duo of Kristin Kuuba and Helina Rüütel (6) face Alejandra Jose Paiz Quan/Mariana Isabel Paiz Quan of Guatemala in the second round, before a potential third round clash against Minami Kawashima/Natsuki Sone of Japan. Third seeded duo Julie Dawall Jakobsen/Ditte Søby Hansen of Denmark, who will play neighbours Moa Sjoo/Elin Svensson of Sweden in the second round, should have the best chances to reach the quarter-final stage in Lima
for the full draw of the women’s doubles.
Ben Lane/Jessica Pugh of England will play Angel Argenis Marinez Ulloa/Bermary Altagracia Polanco Munoz in their opening round. Lane and Pugh are the number three seeds in Peru.
“We’ve trained really hard for this and it’s what we’ve been focusing on. We know that every match will be tough because of all the Asian players at the event. At all the events we’ve played in the senior tournaments, it’s all been a learning curve and we’re still at the developmental stage. All those events have been leading to this and we’ve been focusing on it since we won the European under-17 title last March”, said Ben Lane (pictured)
to Badminton England.
“We know that no English player has ever won the World Juniors, but we know that it will be so hard to medal – it would be a massive ask.”
Turkish duo Melih Turgut/Fatma Nur Yavuz (2) will face Ruben Castellanos/Alejandra Jose Paiz Quan of Guatamala in the second round while Frederik Søgaard and Ditte Søby Hansen, the number four seeds from Denmark, open their medal campaign against Keita Ogawa/Yukiko Takahata from Japan.
for the full draw of the mixed doubles.
for all results including live scoring from Lima.
Article by Manuel Rösler. Photos (LIVE) by BadmintonPhoto.