(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Wild Card entries are confirmed for European Championships
Date: 3/10/2020 11:58 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
We have 41 days until the European badminton community gathers in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the 2020 edition of the European Championships. 

Taking place 21-26 April, Europe’s top players will be battling it out for continental glory and for many a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is still at stake. With this, Wild Card entries are very significant in this process. 

In each event, Badminton Europe is entitled to nominate a Wild Card entry. All Wild Card entries must not cause the maximum of four entries in each event for a given Member Association to be exceeded.

Here are the confirmed Wild Card entries:

Men’s Singles – Danylo Bosniuk (UKR) 
Women’s Singles – Maryna Ilyinskaya (UKR) 
Men’s Doubles – Valeriy Atrashchenkov/Gennadiy Natarov (UKR) 
Women’s Doubles – Anna Mikhalkova/Yevgeniya Paksyutova (UKR) 
Mixed Doubles – Vladimir Ivanov/Ekaterina Bolotova (RUS) 

Hosts Ukraine have been granted four out of the five Wild Card entries. A very proud and happy Oleksii Dniprov, President of the Ukrainian Badminton Federation, reacted to the news by saying.

-Ukraine has been given a big chance with the Wild Cards for our players. We are thankful to Badminton Europe for giving that opportunity to our players in four of the categories. Young, as well as experienced Ukrainian players, have gotten the opportunity of showing their level and skills, to compete on home soil on the highest European level. We hope that they will show their best.

This is also a big gift for the Ukrainian fans. For the first time, they will see the Ukrainian team of players playing in European Championships at home. Thanks a lot and welcome to Ukraine on April 21-26, Dniprov adds. 

They have a chance to compete for medals
The only non-Ukrainian Wild Card was given to their neighbouring country Russia. Vladimir Ivanov and Ekaterina Bolotova. A pair who individually in recent years are known more for their level doubles, are familiar with each other, having played at team events. In late 2019, they entered their first tournament in a while at the Italian International and took the title, defeating top mixed pairs along the way. Most recently, they reached the quarterfinal of the Barcelona Spain Masters last month. 

Upon hearing the confirmation, Victor Volkov, Team Manager of the Russian national team was delighted with the decision. 

-I want to thank Badminton Europe for providing this opportunity for our pair to take part in the European Championships. Vladimir and Ekaterina have for many years played together in team events and have several victories against the strongest European mixed pairs. I believe they have a chance to compete for medals at the European Championships. The upcoming European Championships will be one of the most important competitions this year. In doubles, most likely at the European Championships, we will find out who will go to the Olympic Games. I obviously hope it will be athletes from Russia.

Additional attention to the event
Selecting Wild Cards is always a careful and thoughtful process by Badminton Europe. Summing up the decisions made, Jimmy Andersen, Deputy General Secretary of Badminton Europe states.

-Attention and attractiveness from the home fans have obviously been vital parts in the consideration around whom to offer Wild Cards. Both young upcoming talents, as well as players who have served Ukrainian badminton well for many years, have been offered Wild Cards, for them to compete in front of their home crowd in Kyiv in April. We are certain that this will bring additional attention to the event and attract even more people into the stadium. In the mixed doubles, we decided to offer a Wild Card to a pair which has, in team events, existed for a number of years, but also lately in individual tournaments. We have already seen what they are capable of as a pair in Italy in December and also in Barcelona in February, so it will be interesting to see if they can create an upset in Kyiv and maybe even win a medal.

The full player lists for all categories will be released later today at 13:00 CET. 

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