(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Wild cards announced for #EC22
Date: 3/15/2022 12:38 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
We will see the youngest ever wild card at the 29th edition of the European Championships which will be held in Madrid, Spain, 25-30 April 2022. Here are all the wild card entries for the biggest Badminton Europe event of the year.

Over the past few weeks, a list of eligible players has been compiled. There are 40 places up for grabs in the singles and 28 in the doubles categories. The process of selecting wild cards includes looking at past performance and the value added to the competition.

In very simple terms, a wild card is an opportunity for a player/ pair that the fans want to see and/or has big medal hopes to be given an entry despite missing the cut. Here are the entries for this year. 

Men’s singles – Alex Lanier (FRA)
Lanier, 17, is one of the most exciting young talents in Europe and turned promising results into a first senior title last year at the Lithuanian International. Lanier was 16 years and 138 days. To put this in perspective, Viktor Axelsen won his first title, the Cyprus International 2010, when he was 16 years and 279 days.

Later in 2021, the young Frenchman travelled to Slovenia and became double European U17 Champion in men’s singles and doubles, topping off a big year with another senior title at the Italian International. 

In 2022, we will see the BEC Young and Fan Player of the Year nominee compete against Europe’s best in Madrid before competing at the 2022 European Junior Championships in August. 

Women’s doubles – Chloe Birch/ Jessica Pugh (ENG)
Leading into the 2022 European Championships, the 2019 European Games and the 2021 European Championship silver medallists, England’s Chloe Birch/ Lauren Smith were ranked number two in Europe, behind the two-time champions, Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva. 

Through a reshuffling of the pack, Chloe Birch, who also has played singles, will be focusing on women’s doubles. Lauren Smith similarly is going all-in with the mixed doubles with Marcus Ellis, together winning the silver last year in Kyiv. 

This opened the opportunity for a partnership reunion between Chloe Birch and Jessica Pugh, who together reached the final of the Polish International in 2015. Pugh had won the European Junior mixed doubles bronze with Ben Lane that year also in Poland. 

Pugh, 24, has found success in mixed doubles with Callum Hemming, recording four finals in 2021, lifting the trophy in two. Now, partnering with Birch, 26, they are the new women’s doubles pair to watch in Europe. 

Men’s doubles – Jose Molares/ Jaume Perez (ESP)
This wild card will certainly get the home crowd making some noise in the arena next month. 

Molares will have his 23rd birthday a few days before the 2022 European Championships in the city of his birth, Madrid. Can there be a better gift than that for the Spanish player?

Perez, 26, will team up with Molares as a partnership from within the net of regional training centres, thus inspiring the onlooking local fans who will see the brightest talents competing on the highest European level.

#EC22 wild card entry list:

Men’s Singles: Alex Lanier 
Women’s Singles: No WC
Men’s Doubles: Jose Molares/ Jaume Perez
Women’s Doubles: Chloe Birch/ Jessica Pugh
Mixed Doubles: No WC 

For more information and the full list of entries, click here.

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