Having progressed through the district, county and then regional finals our Key Stage 4 team played this Saturday at the National Badminton centre in Milton Keynes in the National Schools competition. Over 44, 000 players had entered the tournament and to be one of only 9 schools to make it that far is an extraordinary achievement.
In the morning the team (Mehar Bijral, Harry Wang, Kevin Wu and Aaron Tse) were first in a pool of 3 and would then progress though to other similarly placed schools in the afternoon session. Before the matches began we were fortunate enough to meet Anthony Clark (ex-Olympian and Commonwealth medallist). He spoke about his career as a player as well as discussing what made him successful - he also took the time to talk about what would make our players successful in the future.
Our first match was against Bedford School - Mehar won a tense opening match 21 - 19, but unfortunately we lost 3-2 overall despite Mehar and Kevin winning their doubles. We therefore had to beat Clayton Hall Academy - Mehar lost this time in a thrilling 21-20 match with the shuttle hitting the net cord and falling agonisingly over the net to win the game for the opposition. However, Harry's singles win and further wins for all of the players in the doubles meant we won 3-2. In a really tight pool we came second and so contested the 4th/5th/6th positions.
First up was Birkdale High School – another tough encounter and another 3-2 score-line thanks to Aaron Tse winning both his doubles matches with Kevin and Harry. We then played Ashby School in our final fixture. Yet again this was a thriller with all of the boys playing some excellent badminton. It was 2-2 heading into the final match – Harry and Aaron kept their composure to win 21-13 and secure 5th place overall.
Just to get to the finals is incredibly tough, to be the 5th best school team in the country is an exceptional achievement and a result of talent and hard work. Congratulations to all four boys on what they have accomplished – a great sporting moment in St. Olave’s history!