Photo by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe: Monnberg, U17 European Championships, 2016
Anton Monnberg: “It is an interesting opportunity”
Date: 5/8/2017 8:51 AM
Published by : Emma Lollike
The selection camp for Badminton Europe’s Centre of Excellence was organized from 1-5 May, last week. Anton Monnberg of Finland was one of the players who were invited to Holbæk and was presented with the options and possibilities that will be available in the very near future.

From 1 September 2017, a European training centre called ‘Centre of Excellence’ will start up near Stenhus Gymnasium. With the establishment of the Centre of Excellence, Badminton Europe (BEC)  mainly strives towards strengthening the sub-elite in European badminton. For Anton and other young European players, this presents them with very interesting opportunities. 

The players attached to this centre will be living in temporary buildings on campus and training in the newly built Stenhushal (Hall of Stenhus) until Holbæk SportsCentre is ready by 1 January 2019.

Holbæk SportsCentre is going to have facilities for both indoor and outdoor sport clubs in the municipality of Holbæk. With a 22.310 m2 area, the SportsCentre will feature a healthcare centre, a café, a restaurant, a multi arena, changing rooms for indoor and outdoor sports, an indoor swimming pool, 4 squash courts, 4 indoor tennis courts, and finally, 8 badminton courts.

“I heard it was the first city ever in Europe to do this; put all the sport centres into one place. […] it sounds really like a good plan.”, says Anton Monnberg, 18, about the project.

Compared to Finland
In Finland, Anton is attending a sports gymnasium in Helsinki, similar to Stenhus Gymnasium, where the young athletes can practice their sport at a high level which fits their schedule. Currently, Anton says he has a good setup where he trains three times a week every morning with the school, and then again during the afternoon or evening with his club in Vantaa. 

According to Anton, the level of training at the centre will not be so different from what he has back home in Finland, but he sees advantages in the setup in Holbæk: 

“But the biggest difference, I think, is that here in Denmark we could have everything in one place, like living, training, eating – all of this very close to each other. While in Finland, a lot of time goes into travelling from one place to another, like, from home to get to training it is at least 45 or 50 minutes because I don’t have a car yet. So, a lot of time goes with that and that is of course taken away from time to recover from practice and prepare for the next one.”

Anton still has one year left at a gymnasium level and afterwards he wants to apply for the University. He is not sure what he wants to study yet, but he likes to have something else to do besides badminton.

The municipality of Holbæk has offered to support, guide and help the young players to find studies in the area. Stenhus Gymnasium offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and has badminton as a part of their sports college. And Roskilde University is only 30 minutes away by car, for players looking for a higher level of education.  

Anton plans to compare these new possibilities in the area, and in Denmark in general, to the ones at home in Finland. Anton still has some research to do in terms of what he wants to study, but it could potentially lead him back to Holbæk:

“Yeah at some time in the future maybe because I still have to finish school in Finland, and after that I will have to see.” 

A positive surprise
When Badminton Europe announced the selection camp on their website, Anton read about it.

“Well, I had heard about it before when I read it on Badminton Europe’s website. And then, Badminton Europe contacted my federation and asked if some players would like to come to this selection camp and I was one of the players invited”, he says.

At first, he actually did not think much about going, but now he has seen all the facilities for himself and he is positively surprised:

“I think it has been good. I liked the testing with the advanced technology, […] and, also the training has been high quality so far.”

Besides trying to become as good as possible, his goal is to make a career out of playing badminton. Anton is aware that it is not the easiest thing to do, but he feels that he has good opportunities to be able to compete at the very top in Europe. And Badminton Europe is certain that the Centre of Excellence will be able to help Anton and other players like him to reach their goals. 

“I think it is about where you can get the best setup of training and the studying, and to get all of these things together in the best combination of which supports the improvement of my badminton the best.”

Badminton Europe is in the process of hiring assistant coaches and finishing contracts with players for the training centre. Stay tuned on our website for more news regarding the Centre of Excellence or read more on the subpage here.

Find a photo album from the Selection Camp in Holbæk (Denmark), 1-5 May 2017, here.
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