Helen Ward is the University's Director of Badminton and the England U15s coach

Director of Badminton helps England to success

Director of Badminton Helen Ward has recently returned from a successful trip to the U15 8 Nations tournament in Sweden.

Helen, who alongside her role at the University of Exeter is the U15 England national coach, travelled with a squad of 12 of the country’s best young badminton players (Harry Arksey, Joshmyn Bong, Max Flynn, Nicola Ho, David Jones, Adam Lam, Alex Mitchell, Kirby Ngan, Johnnie Torjussen, Samodani Wijetunge) to Uppsala for the competition which to place from 19 – 24 February.

The U15 8 Nations competition saw entrants from Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, The Netherlands, England and Belgium come together for five days of competitive badminton.

The first two days consisted of a team competition which saw England drawn in a group with France, Holland and Belgium. The side started confidently, grasping victory over the Netherlands and Belgium before unfortunately missing out to a supreme French team who went on to win the tournament.

England, however, sealed the bronze medal after a convincing performance against Germany. The Danish side picked up silver after falling to France in the final.

The individual tournament provided just as much excitement. David Jones (Berkshire) sailed to a silver medal in the men’s singles, losing out to France’s Toma Popov. David then joined Harry Arksey (Bucks) in the doubles competition. The pair played exceptionally well, just missing out on the gold after an incredibly close three set final against the Danes.

Harry then teamed up with Fee Teng Liew in the mixed doubles to pick up the fourth medal (Bronze) of the event despite having never played together.

Helen was delighted with the result and commented “All of the guys have performed incredibly well this week. The competition has been really tough and the French side were exceptionally strong so to pick up so many brilliant medals is a real achievement.”

The University of Exeter is home to the Exeter Performance Centre which identifies talented young players and offers them support and training to develop.

Helen said “We work closely with Badminton England and Queens Badminton Club to provide the best environment possible for all players.  We will keep working hard and continue to push to remain a dominant force in European badminton.”

Date: 7 March 2013