Events

(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Why the EU17C21 in Slovenia is a big deal
Date: 9/3/2021 5:04 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The 2021 European U17 Championships has commenced in Podčetrtek, Slovenia, beginning with the team event, followed by the individuals. A major tournament like this always has a special feeling, but for many it means the world. 

Playing is everything
For this age group, playing tournaments means absolutely everything. The top senior stars often refer to their first tournament experiences and how important they were to prepare them and mould who they are today. Playing under the lights with all the eyes watching you is a totally different feeling to training. 

Perhaps more importantly however, playing tournaments is a lot of fun. It gives the players an opportunity to travel and meet their friends. Players need this to really enjoy what they do and gain motivation, so for it to be taken away due to the pandemic was a big shame. We are back now for the biggest U17 event on the European calendar. 

- I am so happy and excited about it, but actually I am injured and not fully prepared for the tournament, but I am happy with the result and how I played. It’s good that we are in Slovenia, it’s actually my first time playing as part of the Slovenian national team and I am really excited. Nika Bedič said after her women’s singles win against Scotland. 

New stars are born
There is much excitement for the return of the European U17 Championships to Slovenia, who hosted the event in 2009. A certain Viktor Axelsen and Carolina Marin won that year, who have since delivered terrific global success and Olympic gold medals. Inexplicably, sport has a habit to repeat history. So will we catch a glimpse of some future superstars?

This opportunity to express yourself, represent your country and compete against the very best on the continent is priceless. None more so than for the hosts. 

- It feel pretty good. Home crowd and I am used to playing here. We have a great team spirit and togetherness said Mark Koroša, who played both the men’s singles and doubles for Slovenia today.

Badminton in Slovenia
There are so many ways to get into a sport. This also varies from country to country. Slovenia is a country with a population of just two million. To put that into context, this is the same population as Paris, the host city of the 2024 Olympics Games. 

Despite this, Slovenia excels in sports and has one of the best Olympic medal to population ratios in the world. They are strong in Canoeing, Cycling and Basketball. 

- My cousin was very good in badminton and I liked it, so I gave it a try. Now I have been training for six years, explained Nika Bedič.

- My older brother started, so I followed, added Ziga Podgoršek. 

The legacy 
Slovenia has also been a regular host of the BEC Summer School, a combination of a training camp for talented junior players (U15) and a BWF Coach Education Level 2 course open to all European nations. With now the European U17 Championships, Slovenia is a pillar in supporting activities that develop the young generation of players coming through and it is rubbing off on the countries youth. 

- Through this event, we would like to show that we are ready for events like this and promote badminton in Slovenia. After all, we would like to show all participants the beauty of our country, so they will like to come back and at the same time spread the message among their friends, stated Matevz Srekl, General Secretary of the Badminton Association of Slovenia.

Investing in the youth of today and developing them through badminton can only be a positive thing and there is a lot of hope towards a bright future in Slovenia. 

Watch all the action from Slovenia live on www.badmintoneurope.tv
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