2022 European Senior Championships: we now have our new champions!
Date: 8/13/2022 3:33 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
With over 40 matches and a two-hour prize giving ceremony, Slovenia crowned Europe’s new senior champions.

The 2022 European Senior Championships just closed today with 43 matches in which players fought for the gold medals. With the bronze medallists already decided, we had some players winning their first senior title while some had already stood on the podium and others are even leaving Ljubljana with more than one medal.

Motivating senior players from all over Europe
The determination and strength shown on all 12 courts throughout this week demonstrate that age cannot stop the best and most motivated players. Since 1995, senior players from all around Europe meet every two years to compete and celebrate the sport that they have always loved. This year in Slovenia, players, organisers, and volunteers have shown why this huge event is of such importance.

Fans on the stands in Ljubljana but also from home watching on BadmintonEurope TV, have got to enjoy some excellent performances in all age groups and categories. One of those has been that of Belgian player Frederic Gaspard who, after a tough week of long matches, made his way to the final to make quite the feat: winning the gold in men’s singles 35, it being the first Senior medal for his country.

- It is important for Belgium but also for me. I hope that I can motivate some other players to come because there are Belgian players who could get good results in the future. I hope that my friends can come back. We are 15 but we will try to be more and more in the upcoming years, Gaspard stated.

By organising senior events and especially big ones like the European Senior Championships, and therefore giving senior players such a platform, not only is badminton being celebrated and promoted, but also it is a way of proving that one should play and compete in our sport well beyond the 30s. 

Gold for a home hero
Slovenia hosted the 2022 European Senior Championships in great style, at the country’s capital, in an outstanding venue — the Dvorana Stozice Arena. There were 1089 players taking part and with them, people from their teams and family, as well as some local fans who attended to witness great badminton.

Women’s singles 35 player Nina Kotar was one of the Slovenian players competing. It was the first European Senior Championships for her, and what a special first for her as she has won the gold, and on home soil.

- It’s amazing. I had no expectations at all when I started, I went match by match. I had never played in front of such a big crowd with so many fans. When I saw that it was taking place in Ljubljana, I decided to apply to participate. I live just 10 minutes away from the venue. I have biked here every day, Kotar said.

It’s great to be back
For some, this has been a great way to get started in the world of big Senior competitions while for others, this was the perfect comeback after a four-year break instead of the usual two years due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, being back to normal, European senior players had the chance to finally meet again.

- It is fantastic to see old friends again. For two years, especially in Scotland, we did nothing. Everything shut down so I missed two years of my badminton development, and I’m heartbroken. It is wonderful to be back and to see all the nations competing, Dan Travers said.

Dan Travers, Scotland, was competing in three events of the 65 category. In fact, the player has taken the champion title in all three — men’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Playing in several categories can have its new challenges for seniors, but it certainly isn’t a problem with proper preparation, just like for players of any age.

- As you get older, your body breaks down as the week goes on. In our age group, sometimes it’s not the best player who wins but the player who has the least injuries by the end of the week. It is very tough and if you don’t try and train for it by playing daily, then it can be very telling on your body. The focus is to stay fit and healthy, and avoid unforced errors, Travers explained.

Besides competing, the social side of the European Championships is part of what makes this event so popular and special. It is an opportunity to meet old friends, on and off court. There are long days but also opportunities to go sightseeing in beautiful corners of Europe and to hang around with fellow players.

- I think that everyone is enjoying it. Even if you lose, it’s still fun — it’s not fun at the time when you lose, but when you look back, meeting everyone and seeing old friends again, it’s great. It’s just great to be back, Travers concluded.

See you in the 2024 European Senior Championships!
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