THE POPULAR sport of badminton may have lost its funding from UK Sport, but there is no shortage of young players wanting to become its future stars and around 60 youngsters converged on Warwick on Saturday to contest the Warwickshire Junior Restricted singles tournament.
Local club Alveston had a number of its members competing and did not have to wait long for its first medal as George Baxter took silver, going down 21-17 in the U11 boys’ final to Solihull’s unbeaten Eamonn O’Leary.
In the U13 girls’ event, Abhirami Sabandesan went one better, winning gold after remaining unbeaten including a crucial 21-7 win over Myton School’s Jessica Lucas who took silver. Kingsley School’s Sylvia Sinclair won bronze.
Across the hall in the boys’ U13 event, Alveston’s Stewart Woodhouse and club newcomer Ollie Crabtree both had to settle for bronze as beaten semi-finalists to winner Leo Rincon-Tivey and Coventry Racqueteers’ Joseph Kempson respectively.
There was a fine Alveston medal haul in the girls’ U15 competition, in which gold medallist Faith Christopherson ended a splendid week for her family which saw her father awarded an MBE days earlier!
The silver medal went to South Warwickshire’s Grace Ring who crucially narrowly lost 21-17 to Faith in their group match. Ruby Sinclair and Amber Venn also both took bronze medals for Alveston.
Hartshill’s Jake Harris won the boys’ U15 gold medal with a close 21-17 win over Rugby’s Dylan Mistry in the final.
As the day drew to a close, there was still time for another two medals for Alveston in the U17 age group.
Emily Naylor from Rugby was the winner, with Alveston’s Beth Harris taking silver – her only defeat coming at the hands of Naylor.
In the final game of a long day, Tom Smith, who had battled through the group stages unbeaten, worked his way through from the quarter-finals and came up against Rugby’s Matthew Sirman.
Despite trailing 19-17, Smith came through to clinch gold with a 21-20 win.
Any players wanting to take up badminton or improve their skills in the sport should see the club’s website at www.alvestonjuniors.co.uk for more details. The club runs weekly sessions all year round at Stratford Girls Grammar School and North Leamington School.