Strong GB team out to dominate singles
After the Olympic heroics by Marcus Ellis & Chris Langridge there is certainly a fresh impetus encapsulating team GB at present. As we roll towards the Autumn months the team GB youngsters get the opportunity to exercise their potential this coming week as the Badminton Europe circuit travels to Trencin for the annual Slovak Open.
GB, or more to the point England and Scotland, occupy three of the top four seeded positions in the men’s singles and between them Rhys Walker (pictured below), Alex Lane and Mathew Carder have the firepower to dominate this future series rated tournament.
Lane, the U17 European champion from 2011, has a tricky opener against Daniel Chislov (Israel) with the winner of this clash a likely protagonist come the distribution of medals on finals day. Adam Mendrek (CZE) will also have his sights set on establishing himself on the European circuit. With the retirement of Petr Koukal the gate is now open for some of the younger Czech players to make their mark and Mendrek just might be the player to do so and this could be his week.
The home nation are not without a shout in the men’s singles with second seed Matej Hlinican (main picture) shouldering the majority of the responsibility. Hlinican has a tough opener against Bulgarian Ivan Rusev and like Englishman Lane this opening game will give a firm indication of the home players form.
The Slovakian supporters will also feel they are in with a reasonable shout in the women’s singles. Martina Repiska is seeded two for her home tournament behind top seed Zuzana Pavelkova of Czech Republic.
The heart would suggest that Repiska should ride the wave of the home support but the head would suggest that both top seeded player will come under immense pressure from some of Europe’s emerging youngsters.
England send Miu Lin Ngan, the returning Panuga Riou and one of the stars of the European U17 championships at the beginning of the year Abigal Holden (pictured below) with Holden certainly one to watch as Riou finds her feet again on the circuit after a double injury blow.
Elsewhere the experience of Flore Vandenhoucke (BEL), Natalya Voyteskh (UKR) and Mariya Mitsova (BUL) will certainly play its part in the destination of the medals.
There to be dominated by Polish men’s doubles
You would be forgiven for glancing through the men’s doubles draw and thinking it’s a wide opening tournament for any one of 8 pairs to go and win. But closer scrutiny sees the long established Polish pair of Szkudlarczyk & Moren nestled mid draw and without a seeding.
Look no further when it comes to picking the probably winners of this men’s doubles event in Trencin as barring injury or some drastic happenings the Poles must be a shoe in for the win.
Irish pair Boyle and Darragh are top seeds for the women’s doubles but with Nedelcheva and Mitsova (BUL) set to meet the Irish as early as round two it will be a big ask for the young Irish duo.
Others worth keeping an eye on in the women’s doubles draw are Scottish duo Findlay and Pringle and Czech pair Fuchsova and Basova who have a nice blend of youth and experience on their side.
Finally, in the mixed doubles the continued rehabilitation of Czech pair Basova and Bitman is worth keeping an eye on but as with the four other disciplines it is worth watching the emerging young guns and English pair Callum Hemming and Fee Teng Liew jump off the page as one of those pairs.
All the action kicks off Thursday at the 2016 Slovak Open and to view all draws click HERE
Article and archive images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe