As previously featured, Cambridgeshire Badminton Association players Daniel Bates, Olga Bryant and Neil Place were the first Cambs players in recent history to represent England at the BWF World Senior Championships, which was held this year in Ankara, Turkey, on 9-14th September.
Travelling with the generous support of CambsBA, Olga competed in all three disciplines of ladies doubles, singles and mixed doubles in the O40 category, while Daniel and Neil competed in the mens doubles O35.
Olga made good progress in all events. In the singles she was the unfortunate victim of a tough draw, which meant after winning her first round, she faced the formidable 1st seed (and eventual winner) Gitte Sommer of Denmark to whom she lost in straight sets. She had a very similar experience in the ladies, playing as a scratch partnership with German Cornelia Ern-Joachim. Having beaten an Indian pair in the first round, they were defeated by a Japanese pair in the second who also went on to win the competition.
It was in the mixed, and another scratch partnership with Surrey's Paul Mitchell, that Olga found her success. Seeded 5/8 and with a bye through the first round, she and Mitchell defeated Sweden/Denmark, French and Hungarian pairings with determination and great speed around the court to reach the semi-finals. Unfortunately, that match was again against Sommer, and her Swedish partner, who proved just too powerful.
Daniel and Neil had the benefit of a dream start. Following a bye in the first round, their feared clash against the 1st seed pairing in the O35 mens doubles ended in a walkover when one of the Japanese pair did not arrive.
In the third round, they faced a strong Swiss pairing, who already had experience of the venue, but in a marvelous and explosive performance closed out the game in straight sets.
This led to a quarter-final match against a German pairing, which began poorly with an early 12-21 defeat. However, Neil and Daniel rallied themselves and in a nailbiting finish were pipped 20-22 in the second end.
The week was a superb festival of badminton for all senior categories. Congratulations to Daniel, Olga and Neil for their performances.