(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Centre of Excellence in 2020
Date: 12/29/2020 2:12 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
This year saw Badminton Europe’s Centre of Excellence celebrate its third birthday. Growth has been substantial, however, in the most challenging year so far, learn how the Centre was able to stay strong and now looks towards a bright future. 

Three years ago, when the project started, the number of players were fewer than today. Over time, numbers grew as players and federations began seeing that it is a good place to be for many of their top talents. When arriving and trying the facilities, there is often great positivity when witnessing first-hand how Europe’s future stars can flourish in this environment.

The CoE project has been a significant investment but is seen as an important one. Allowing players to fulfil their potential in a sustainable high-performance environment. 

Head Coach, Jeroen Van Dijk, who has been there since the very beginning of this journey shares some insights into the promising path being carved at the CoE for European badminton.  

-When we started to move to the brand new Holbæk Sportsby in August 2019 to March 2020, these were the best months. The number of top players coming here was at an all-time high. Players could see the significant investment and what benefits they can get from the Centre. Then, unfortunately, COVID-19 hit us. 

Denmark, like much of Europe and the rest of the world, swiftly went into a lockdown. Suddenly, a cloud of uncertainty emerged overhead. Badminton training ceased and most players returned to their respective nations. 

Due to the fast response all-round, the Centre was able to reopen on the 10 June, but starting with just 10 players. Jeroen Van Dijk continues the CoE story of 2020.

-Every country in Europe had different restrictions. Slowly we were able to start progressing again, but we are not at the same level as before the first wave. We are also losing players because of certain restrictions, but also gaining many through the same reason, as training/ sparring is difficult or prohibited in many countries.

Players have seen the CoE as the shining beacon of light where elite training has been able to consistently take place and travel to and from Denmark for the players is simple. 

The CoE is the complete package
Particularly pleased by the current developments, Badminton Europe Development & High Performance Senior Manager, Jacob Oehlenschlaeger, explains what this symbolises for the Centre’s good work. 

-It shows there is a lot of interest in the Centre of Excellence and that what we are providing for our MAs in Holbæk is really good. We have a very experienced coaching team and a great group of players who are really keen on improving their badminton game. The complete package is quite good, and the players appreciate that. 

Commenting on the players, who were able to back up their training with good performances earlier in the year, not being able to continue that, Jacob Oehlenschlaeger states.

-This is extremely stressful for them. Especially from the perspective that we do not know when the next tournament will happen. So, they are trying to stay in that development mood, but they would really like to go out and compete. The staff and the players have a big task to keep the spirits high and they are doing a really good job there.  

For the full BEC Update interview with Jacob Oehlenschlaeger, click here.
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