The Irish badminton team have had their most successful season in team competition so far......
The team made their highest ever placing in Europe when they qualified for the last eight of the European mixed team championships earlier this year. The team travelled to Bulgaria and beat the host nation who were the top seeds followed by wins over Finland and Norway.
After placing in the top eight of Europe the team then travelled to China this week for the most prestigious World team championships in badminton the 2019 Sudirman Cup. The Sudirman Cup is a massive event on the badminton calendar and this year it took an even bigger stage as it was held in Nanning China. Badminton is one of the biggest sports in the country and the hosts have put together an amazing stage for the countries who travelled to compete.
Ireland continued their amazing form this season by finishing runners up in their division of the competition. The team were placed in group 3a with Nepal, New Zealand and Australia. Ireland beat Nepal 5-0, New Zealand 3-2 and Australia 3-2 to set up a final against Sri Lanka who won group 3b.
In the final Ireland started well with the experienced partnership of Sam and Chloe Magee beating Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa in three games 20-22 21-16 21-17.
Next up was Nhat Nguyen who was undefeated the whole way through the event. Nhat took the opening game against Dinuka Karunaratna with relative ease winning 21-12. In the second game Diinuka fought back but after 51 minutes of play Nhat finished the match winning the second game 21-18.
Next on court was women’s singles between Ireland’s Kate Frost and Kavidi Sirimannage of Sri Lanka. In this match Sri Lanka fought back hard with Kavidi dominating the match. Frost worked hard but Sirimannage had too much speed and consistency for the young Irish player to deal with. Kavidi won 21-12 21-7 to bring the score to Ireland 2 and Sri Lanka 1 going into the men’s doubles.
The men’s doubles match was one of the most exciting games on the team list and the match certainly lived up to the billing. Sam Magee and Nhat Nguyen took to the court for their second games of the final with each player winning their earlier match.
The opening game started a blistering pace with Sri Lanka knowing they needed to win this game to even the score and take the match to the deciding game. The Irish were prepared for the attacking play from Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonethilleka and controlled the opening game winning 21-17. Sri Lanka were not done fighting just yet as they came straight back winning the second game 21-16. In the deciding game the Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonethilleka took the control of the match as the Irish players started to look fatigued after the long week of matches. The final score 21-11 to Sri Lanka making the match 2-2 overall going down to the women’s doubles.
The Women’s doubles match was a match between Chloe Magee and Rachael Darragh against Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa and Kavidi Sirimannage. This match turned out to be the pick of the final with the match going all the way to the deciding game. In a match that lasted 80 minutes with both teams having their chances to win, it was Sri Lanka who came out on top to steal the victory from Ireland winning 21-15 22-24 21-17
“Our team has had a remarkable season finishing top eight in Europe and now finishing runners up in their division of the Sudirman Cup World mixed team championships. The players work extremely hard behind the scenes and have created a strong team bond over the season. The strong work ethos from this group has stood to them in these team competitions. Sam, Chloe, Nhat and Rachael will feature in the upcoming European Games along with Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds who have qualified for the men’s doubles and we look forward to seeing these players representing Ireland once more” High Performance Director Daniel Magee