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21 October 2009 | PR 09/143

East Midlands youngsters get a lesson from Japan’s badminton stars

badminton coaching1

A group of 25 young badminton players from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train alongside Japan’s international athletes at a special coaching clinic hosted at Loughborough University last weekend (Saturday 17 October).

Players aged eight to 17 ranging from club to county standard were put through their paces by Japanese players Kenta Kazuno, Kenichi Tago, Mami Naito and Hirose Eriko just hours before they took on and beat Team England in a five-match head-to-head hosted at the University.

The young athletes were specially invited to the two-hour coaching clinic which was run by students from the Loughborough University badminton club and supported by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), who also backed the evening’s international fixture.

Players took part in a warm-up and spent time working on attack and defence skills before the Japanese athletes dropped by for an entertaining demonstration match and some one-to-one batting with the youngsters.

Derbyshire junior badminton committee secretary Judith Rowbottom said the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity for her young charges.

“This is something they’ll never forget,” she said. “All the players are very excited and it’s fantastic they’ve been able to play one on one with the Japanese. It’s very possible some of our older kids could play against them professionally later in their careers.

“It’s been good to watch them and see how quick the play is at the top level. It gives our youngsters something to aim for.”

Leicestershire County U14-U17 coach Martin Powell selected players who had volunteered at this summer’s Special Olympics and as an extra reward they were invited to help with the floor sweeping during the evening’s international matches.

Badminton coaching2

“It was such an exciting day for the players involved and something they’d been looking forward to since they were first invited,” he said. “To be able to have a knock with these athletes is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“And to be so close to their England heroes in the international matches and actually help out on court is really very special.”

Loughborough University students David Westwood and Lauren Cooper led the session and underlined the value of being able to play against some of the best players in the world.

“It’s really good for the kids to be able to bat with international players,” said Westwood. “I don’t think they realise how good they are until they see them up close. It’s been a real eye opener for everyone and I think the Japanese players really enjoyed themselves as well.”

As part of the afternoon of badminton all participants received tickets to the Team England v Japan match where they watched their East Midlands heroes Donna Kellogg and Anthony Clark beat Kenichi Hayakawa and Shizuka Matsuo in England’s only win of the night. The European champions trailed early on but hit back to take the first game 21-19 and then clinch the match 21-11.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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