Russia versus the rest
Date: 6/18/2014 4:24 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

The 2014 edition of the European Club Championships kicks off next week in Amiens, France with defending champions Primorye Vladivostok the overwhelming favourites to win the title for the third year running.

The Russian champions have dominated Europe’s premier club competition in recent years and there is little to suggest that the long trip from Eastern Russia will yield nothing less than a win for a team riddled with world class talent.

In a 7 match format, which will be used for the last time in Amiens, it is critical to have squad strength in depth. Vladivostok travel to France with current European men’s doubles champions in their side Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov (pictured) with both men leading the line in singles also. Supporting the European champions will be Lunev, Khakimov and Dremin with 2012 Olympic bronze medallists in women’s doubles Vislova and Sorokina leading the Russian line from a female perspective. Add into the mix the versatility of Golovanova and Chervyakova in both doubles and singles and the Russian champions have the look of the Russian national team about them.

French look to upset Russian revolution

The most likely threat to the dominance of the Russian champions will come from home opposition in the form of Chambly, bronze medallists from 2013, and French league runners up AIX Universite CB. As hosts France have two teams in the competition and Chambly will look to add to their bronze as official club hosts for the second year running.

The French champions have added to their squad this year bringing in former European Champion Robert Mateusiak and world silver medallists from 2011 Imogen Bankier. Add into the equation the established Chambly trio of Beatriz Corrales, Kirsty Gilmour and Thomas Rouxel all of a sudden the apparent gap between Primorye and the rest narrows. However the 7 match format just might be the French downfall with the Russians likely to be stronger further down the line.

AIX will to harbour ambitions of not only reversing the French final defeat to Chambly but also being the biggest threat to Primorye Vladivostok. The French cannot look any further than their group at this early stage as they must face off and beat Czech champions TJ Sokol Vesely Jehnice to avoid The Russians early in the knockout stages.

AIX bring established players such as Petya Nedelcheva, Jillie Cooper, Ronan Labar, Lianne Tan and probably one of the most under rated singles players in Europe these past years, Indra Bagus Ade Chandra. The Milan based Indonesian will be key to the French runners up progression at first singles and he has the beating of any player put before him next week.

The Czech champions travel with Petr Koukal leading the lines who will be well supported by Cwalina. Mendrek, Basova and Augustyn and the pick of the group matches will be the face-off between Jehnice and AIX.
Dutch Champions Van Zundert VELO will look to sneak under the radar and with the obvious class of Palyama, Middleburg, Halkema and Chang Ya Lan will cause trouble for any team making the trip to Amiens. Again and like so many the 7 match format will most likely stretch the Dutch to their limits and ultimately prove their undoing.

Everyone loves an Underdog

While the big guns fight it out for the medals the European Club Championships offers the opportunity for some of Europe’s lesser known clubs to mix it with the big boys. As is the case with most badminton team events team spirit and togetherness comes to the fore and it is normally the underdog that revel in such an atmosphere. With teams travelling from Iceland, Italy and Luxembourg to name but a few, this year’s European Club Championships’ in Amiens is sure to deliver on the ethos that taking part is as equally as important as winning.

The European Club Championships starts on Tuesday 24th June with two sessions commencing at 12 noon. Badminton Europe TV will be there all week bringing all the action LIVE from our streaming court on our YouTube channel. To watch for free click HERE.

Click HERE for the 2014 European Club Championships results and schedule.

Read also: Hat Trick Opportunity for Primorye Vladivostok

Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.

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