(Photo: Badminton Photo)
EMWTC: Women’s preview
Date: 2/7/2020 12:18 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Next Tuesday in Liévin, France, the group stages of the European Men’s and Women’s Team Championships will commence. 

Historically, the women’s event has been closely fought, with seven different nations taking home medals and three different champions since the inaugural championships in 2006. 

Traditionally strong nations, such as Denmark, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands, are now being challenged by emerging nations such as Bulgaria and Spain. The latter has managed to win the bronze medal in the last two championships, with Europe’s superstar Carolina Marin at the heart of their campaign for more medals. 

Hosts France, despite not previously medalling, find themselves as number three seeds. This is due to the significant developments of French badminton across the board. France can bring in a new women’s singles player, Qi Xuefei, who is 39 in the world. Adding to the solid women’s doubles pair of Delphine Delrue/Lea Palermo, currently at 32 in the world, forming a strong foundation for a first medal bid.  

They face a tough challenge in group three, as they play against the unseeded, but former EWTC silver medallists, England team. This is certainly a match not to be missed in the group stages. 

Émilie Lefel, who was helping conduct the draw, commented about this match-up for the French women.

-I haven’t been too nice to my team, as it will definitely be a tough opening match against England for the hosts France. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for my teammates. 

Meeting an old foe
Reigning champions and five-time winners, Denmark are certainly the ones leading the way. Despite being one of the youngest teams, their performances in tournaments set the standard. European Games winner, Mia Blichfeldt, the European Games bronze medallist, Line Kjærsfeldt and the 2017 European Junior Champion, Julie Dawall Jakobsen, are a terrific trio who will be difficult to topple. 

In group one, Denmark will have a matchup against their old foes, the Netherlands. These two nations have had colossal team battles in EWTC and Uber Cups in the past. In this one, the key potential match will be with the Dutch doubles pair of Selena Piek/Cheryl Seinen, 24 in the world, against Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen, at 20 in the world and recently finalists at the Indonesia Masters. This would be the repeat of the European Games quarterfinal, where the Dutch pair went on to win gold. 

Emerging star
Second seeds and current bronze medallists, Russia, are coming into these championships with a solid line-up. Ekaterina Bolotova/Alina Davletova in the doubles, and Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the singles, both boast bronze medals at the European Games and will be aiming to lead their team at least towards the silver medal, as they did in 2010 and 2014. 

Germany, who have a haul of seven medals at the EWTC, and that memorable gold in 2012, are fourth seeds coming into the championships. The reigning silver medallists, much like the Russian team, have their strengths in the number one slots of the singles and doubles. Yvonne Li, semifinalist at the SaarLorLux Open and ranked 42 in the world sets the standard in the singles. In the women’s doubles, Linda Efler/Isabel Herttrich sit at number 33 in the world. However, with Kilasu Ostermeyer winning the German nationals last weekend in the mixed doubles, we may witness an emerging star in Liévin. 

Here is the full list of EWTC groups:

Group 1 – Denmark, Netherlands, Ireland, Estonia. 
Group 2 – Russia, Belgium, Iceland, Lithuania.
Group 3 – France, England, Belarus, Israel.
Group 4 – Germany, Slovakia, Portugal, Latvia.
Group 5 – Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Wales. 
Group 6 – Turkey, Finland, Slovenia, Czech Republic.
Group 7 – Spain, Poland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden. 

The winner of each group and the best overall runner up will advance to the quarterfinals.

For the full draw and fixtures, click here

Tickets to see Europe’s top players fight for the crown are still available. 

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