(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Centre of Excellence turns three today
Date: 9/1/2020 1:02 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The mission is to make European badminton competitive in a global context. Three years on, how is the CoE looking today?

The concept for the Centre of Excellence (CoE) grew from the acknowledgement that there is a polarisation of the medals in world badminton, with Asian countries being the most dominant. Europe is a continent that also produces medals, but Badminton Europe wanted to play its part in increasing that number.    

The fact that not every national federation has a good high-performance setup lead to the birth of the CoE, which provides a high quality and aspirational training base for talented and deserving players from all over Europe.
Badminton Europe General Secretary, Brian Agerbak, shares his view on what has been the biggest development project Badminton Europe has undertaken so far.

- It is a significant investment, but also an important one to give players an opportunity to fulfil their potential in a sustainable high-performance environment. We have been successful in achieving that. It has been a rough journey, as it takes time to convince players and federations that it is the right place to be, but I think once players arrive and try the facilities, they understand it is right for them and we see the players flourish in this environment.

Welcome to Holbæk
The CoE opened its doors on 1 September 2017. Training took place in the Stenhushal for two years before moving to the new Holbæk Sportsby where players enjoy the excellent facilities today. Holbæk is a peaceful and beautiful city close to the sea, only 65 km from the capital Copenhagen. 

The CoE, like any institution, has been affected by the pandemic and had to close down for a while. However, the centre is active again and Badminton Europe is confident that it will be up to full capacity soon. Recently, the already strong coaching staff was bolstered with a new incoming coach in John Dinesen, previously doubles and singles coach of the German national team. He joins Head Coach Jeroen Van Dijk and Coach Peter R. Jensen. Commenting on this, Brian Agerbak says. 

- I am very happy with the coaching team at the centre now. The three coaches are a strong unit who can develop the players to a world-class level. We still have some capacity for incoming players, so the centre is open to receiving contact from interested players and Member Associations. 

World Training Centre on European soil? 
In the longer term, the goal is for the CoE is to become a vehicle for extended cooperation among Member Associations to benefit the overall development of European and World Badminton. An important aspect for the CoE has been to be an open and inclusive centre, allowing coaches from other federations to come and learn and be a part of the badminton culture here. 

When starting up the European CoE, there were already talks with BWF around a World Training Centre which was part of a larger strategic plan to be in operation by 2020. At that time there was still some uncertainty on how this was going to play out, so Badminton Europe decided to go ahead with the European centre. BWF is now looking at having a World Training Centre up and running by 2022. Brian Agerbak, who has been at the centre of these discussions, confirms that the future is bright for the centre. 

-We will have to consider how the European centre fits in with those plans. It is not known where geographically this could be setup. It could well be that our European centre will turn into a World Training Centre under the umbrella of BWF, which would be an interesting project. Either way, strong cooperation between the CoE and this exciting initiative by BWF is the way forward. 

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