The month of March was a busy month for the Irish athletes competing around Europe. The month got off to a great start with Sam and Chloe Magee reaching the last sixteen of the 2019 All-England Championships. The Irish won their opening match beating Alimov and Davletova of Russia before losing out to the number four seeds Puavaranukroh and Taerattanachi of Thailand.
Portuguese open was the next event on the calendar. Paul Reynolds and Rachael Darragh were the pair on form at this event as they reached the quarterfinals with wins over German and Norwegian opposition before they lost out to Mathias Thyrri and Elisa Melgaard of Denmark.
The Cheltenham Gold star under thirteen event was the next tournament that caught Irish attention. Siofra Flynn brought home gold in the girls doubles with Saffron Morris from Wales and bronze in the singles and mixed events. Siofra will be involved later in the year with both the Irish under thirteen and fifteen teams at the Glasgow Youth International and Quadrangular where she will hope to continue this good run of form.
France was the next stop on the circuit as the Irish travelled to compete at the 2019 Orleans Masters BWF Tour Super 100 event. The Irish had a strong showing at this tournament but it was Nhat Nguyen who was again stealing the headlines at this event. Nhat reached the quarterfinals beating Denmark’s Kim Bruun, Germany’s Alexander Roovers and number seven seed Toma Popov Junior. In the quarterfinals Nhat lost out to the number two seed Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands. This was an extremely positive result from Nhat who had a difficult start to the season with some sickness and injury.
Niall McVeigh was the next of the Irish in competition as he got his Paralympic qualification quest underway. McVeigh reached the last sixteen of the 2019 Turkish Para-Badminton International after beating Alexander Mekhdiev of Russia before losing out in a desperately close match to number 5/8 seed Didin Taresoh of Malaysia 21-18 14-21 17-21. The Canadian open will be the next event for Niall as he chases his Paralympic dream.
Polish Open was the next tournament on the tour and Nhat Nguyen started well winning his opening match against Adrian Dziolko of Poland 21-16 21-13. Nhat Nguyen then lost out in the last sixteen to number one seed Ygor Coehlo of Brazil. The Brazilian won the match 17-21 21-17 21-19 after 58 minutes of play. Paul Reynolds and Joshua Magee lost out to Kersaudy and Maio of France 21-19 19-21 19-21 in a fantastic first round match up.
March has also seen the end of the European Games qualification. The qualification period lasted for a year period with 32 places available for the singles events and 16 places available for the doubles and mixed doubles pairings. Ireland qualified six athletes in total for this event.
MS Nhat Nguyen
WS Rachael Darragh
MD Joshua Magee & Paul Reynolds
XD Sam Magee & Chloe Magee
The Multi-sport Games will take place in June in Minsk Belarus.