Wednesday, October 11, 2023
TEXT BY PREM KUMAR | YANG SHAOCHEN/BADMINTONPHOTO
The introduction of the CLASH OF CLANS Arctic Open 2023 powered by YONEX as a Super 500 tournament on the HSBC BWF World Tour this season presented a group of shuttlers from non-badminton countries the golden opportunity to finally make their bow at this level.
On Day 2 at the Energia Arena, as many as 17 players – the large majority of them from Europe – got their first taste of what it’s like to play a Super 500.
Here are some of them relating how valuable the experience was.
“This is what we are working for every day, every week. And we value these matches against players better than us. We are really happy we are here now, but we want to start playing these bigger tournaments (more often) and win matches, not just lose in the first round. We want to compete with the best and show we can give them a game.”
“It’s very good for our development, to be in this atmosphere and around good players and be able to watch some top matches live. We can learn a lot from this. And although we played just one match, we will take away a lot of good stuff and work on it in training.”
“We are hungry to learn more. It’s an important tournament and it’s a super big experience for us. We just want to raise the level of our game by playing as high as possible. We won in the qualification, so we have a lot of positive things to take home. We are disappointed now but tomorrow we will watch this match and try to learn as much as possible from it.”
“We will prepare better the next time we play a 500 because now we have experience. So maybe step by step, more tournaments like this. Hopefully in the future, we will feel more comfortable on court because today we were a little bit nervous.”
“We just entered because we it’s our neighbouring country and we got lucky to make the main draw. And it’s been a pretty good experience. We learned a lot of things for sure. Seeing the top players’ level up close, we know where to go next to achieve what we want. We usually watch them on YouTube, and it’s totally different when playing them. It was fun though.”
“This shows us it’s possible to compete against top players. And it’s not impossible to score some points too. We don’t play full-time because we are university students so this is good for our self-belief.”