While Denmark one again reigned supreme on finals day of the individual competition at the European U17 championships, winning four of the five finals, it was the unearthing of a potential Irish and European star in men’s singles that grabbed all the headlines as Nhat Nguyen (main picture) captured the men’s singles title without dropping a singles set on his road to glory.
The young Irish man caused many a raised eyebrow on the opening day of the team event beating the French favourite for the title Arnaud Merkle. Some said it was a one off and others said Nguyen would not last the distance with the heavy schedule in Lublin. All were proved wrong.
After blasting his way through the early rounds today’s final was seen as a battle between two of the biggest talents in European junior badminton. Nguyen’s opponent was England’s Johnnie Torjussen and while having a great personal week the young English man had not enough in his arsenal to trouble Nguyen who came home in two games 21-17 21-11
“I still cannot believe it but I know it will all start to sink in over the coming hours and days” said the Irishman after his victory. “We work hard at home and this is reward for everyone involved in giving me the opportunity to play. I want to go home now and improve my game and try and get better and U19’s will be my next big goal.”
With gold as the main course for Ireland the sweet dessert came in the men’s doubles where Nguyen partnered Paul Reynolds to a bronze medal in an amazing week for one of Europe’s smaller nations.
Queen Alexandra rules as Boje secures MVP in Lubin
There is no doubt in any one’s mind that Denmark’s Alexandra Boje (pictured above receiving her WD medal) was the outstanding performer over the week in Lubin. Carrying her team to gold the Dane brought that form into the individual event winning both the mixed doubles and women’s doubles title to add to her team gold.
A leader and a fighter with exceptional talent Boje walked to the mixed doubles title alongside Paw Eriksen beating Russian pair Medvedeva and Lavrikov in two games 21-11 21-17.
Boje then teamed up with Amalie Magelund Krogh to secure the women’s doubles title it what was an immense battle against top seeds from Turkey Ercetin and Inci. The Danes eventually coming through in the third game 21-19 as their physical superior conditioning got them through some exhausting rallies towards the end.
An outstanding talent for the future of Danish badminton for sure and a week’s work without losing a single match, Alexandra Boje was without doubt the tournament’s most valuable player.
Paw Eriksen matched Boje’s feat of three golds after the team and mixed success. Eriksen teamed up with Mads Thogersen to take the men’s doubles title beating French pair Rossi and Gicquel in the final. Another tight three set thriller where the Danes had the match within their grasp in two sets leading 1-0 and 12-7 in the second game. But the French are fighters and somehow pulled the second game out of the fire taking it 22-20.
Full credit to the Danish pair who regrouped and steadied the ship and made no mistake in the deciding set to be crowned champions with a 21-13 final game victory.
The women’s singles completed the four from five title for Denmark as line Christophersen beat final favourite Sara Penalver of Spain. After exchanging the first two games Christophersen stormed home in the deciding set to take the unlikeliest of golds and reaffirmed Denmark’s strength in depth across all five disciplines.
For all results from #EU17C finals in Lubin click HERE
For a full podium gallery on of images click HERE
To watch all the action on demand on Badminton Europe’s Youtube channel click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe