The University of Nottingham’s sports hall had the honour of playing host to the immensely competitive BUCS Badminton Championships at the end of last term. There was a tense and energetic atmosphere in the air as supporters from all universities surrounded the courts. The importance of the tournament was evident, with over 400 players participating and representing 60 universities in the event.
The tournament played out to form as the number 1 and 2 seeds, Leeds Met’s Lim Kenn and Manchester’s Jamie Bonsels, met in the finals. Both players had displayed great levels of composure in clinically dispatching their opponents on route to the final. Kenn’s prowess and intelligent shot selection was evident as he took the first set 21-16. A similar start to the second set meant Kenn took an early lead, and, despite a late rally from Bonsels, the Leeds Met representative took the set 21-17 to retain his title for the second time.
After the finals I caught up with the Men’s winner, for whom the result had clearly not sunk in yet. A graceful Kenn admitted he could have played better and expected the finals to be tough, as each round presented different tests along the way. Having trained regularly, this performance was well deserved and he responded by saying he was “happy to win”.
Much like Kinn, 1st seed Anita Kaur was the reigning champion in the Women’s Singles and was up against the number 3 and Leeds Met teammate Sarah Milne. With both athletes knowing each other’s games so well, the final could have been decided by which player could exploit the other’s weaknesses best. The game started off at great pace and Kaur roared into an unassailable first set lead, eventually winning 21-7. In the second, Milne hit back with some superb shots but, ultimately, Kaur’s greater power and finesse prevailed as she came through to win the second set and the match 21-7, 21-8.
The competition was a huge success for both the organisers and players from Nottingham University, with many of them achieving above expectations in reaching the third round in what is a notoriously tough tournament. Nottingham’s Kate Strong was a stand-out performer as she out-classed her first couple of opponents and appeared to be on course to cause a huge tournament upset. However, she was unfortunate in coming up against Sarah Milne in the third round in a hard-fought game. Milne was victorious, but in the post-match interview Strong stated “I gave her a good game”.
Congratulations should be given to Leeds Met Carnegie who swept the board in winning all five possible matches and proved, once again, why they are the best University in the country for badminton. Despite this, the reputations of Nottingham’s players and organisers can only have been enhanced by what was truly a successful weekend for all involved.