This year’s event saw one of the highest number of entries for the tournament so far with 492 players competing in 45 different events.
The age groups start with the over thirty-five age group and go all the way up to the over seventy-five age group. The players age groups may differ, but one thing every player had in common was the goal of leaving the event with the prestigious title of All England Champion.
Traditionally, this event would see some of the best players in Europe competing and this year there was also a number of top Asian players who travelled in search of the title. Asia had representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia and China, including Women’s singles champion Xiao Min Yu, who won the over sixty women’s singles title.
The weekend got off to a fantastic start for Ireland with Sian Williams taking gold in the women’s singles fifty-five category. Sian overcame tough opposition with two wins over English opposition before she faced the number two seed Lone Knudsen of Denmark. Sian took victory over Knudsen for the first time in a hard-fought match winning 21-17 21-19. Sian still had some work ahead though, as in the final she would now meet the number one seed Cathy Jane Bargh of England. Bargh did not make the task easy for Williams as the players battled for forty four minutes. In the end it was Williams who came out on top winning 21-19 17-21 21-19 to secure Ireland it’s first Gold medal of the weekend.
Sian had little time to celebrate her victory as after a well-earned night's sleep, she was back on court the next day in her successful double’s partnership with Pam Peard. Sian and Pam are a well-known partnership with a number of prestigious titles already in their locker including World Gold.
The pair went into the event as the number one seeds and set out to prove their seeding from the word go. The Irish quickly took care of Kristoffersson and Sandstrom of Sweden followed by Dew and Holland of England to progress to the Semi Finals.
In the semi-finals the Irish faced another English pairing in Chris Summers and Tracy Walker. The Irish looked physically in great shape and showed great communication as they powered their way past the English winning 21-13 21-18. In the final Peard and Williams now faced the number two seeded pairing from Germany Heidi Bender and Maren Schroder. The German pairing and the Irish both knew that this win would secure the gold medal and both pairings were well prepared for the fight ahead.
The Irish came out strong winning the opening game 21-14. The German pairing fought back hard in the second game, but despite their best efforts it was the Irish who looked stronger and more solid in the closing points. Peard and Williams took the second game 21-19 to add another title to their already impressive record.
The Irish hope that these results should help secure them a number of top seedings as they travel to compete in the World Championships in Katowice, Poland in August.
“Sian and I are delighted with the results from this weekend. We set out to win the gold medal’s and we are delighted to have achieved our goal at this event. I believe that the results we have achieved here will help give us a top two seeding in the doubles and a strong seeding for Sian in singles at the upcoming World championships in Katowice, Poland in August. We would like to thank our personal sponsor Metal Technology Ltd for their continued support. We go back to training now for the World championships and hope to continue to bring home success for Ireland on the World stage” Pam Peard
Badminton Ireland congratulates Sian and Pam and all of the other Irish players who competed at the weekend. Two All-England gold medals is a great achievement and we look forward to following the results from the World master’s event in August.
For a full list of Irish result click here