badmintonIMG-3145
Aug 15 2023

Country combos achieve success in doubles badminton

For Brent Van der Kelen, it is his very first time at a major sporting event ever. Five years ago, the young Belgian became paralyzed and had to continue in a wheelchair. At the European Para Championships, he is competing in Para Badminton, which started today.

“I do have a little stress, because there are all these people here”, Brent says. “I’m blocking a little bit and that’s just stress. Everybody is watching. It gets personal quickly here. But it’s going to be okay I think.”

Interestingly, in doubles, many teams consist of players from two different countries. The main reason for this is that Para Badminton does not have the same number of players in all countries. For example, Brent plays with young Scot Gregor Craig Anderson. “It’s a little difficult because he’s from Scotland. Yesterday we just trained together for half an hour. It’s very short, so we don’t really know how we go and tune in to each other yet”, Brent continued. “But we’re going to do our best. It’s going to be good.”

Brent and Gregor only got to know each other at the players’ hotel, one day before the start of the European Para Championships. That may be explained by the fact that for both young men it is their first tournament. However, they win their first match convincingly against the older Irishmen Michael Smith and Chris Stewart (21-8, 21-10).

With Swiss Dominik Bützberger and Dutch Sophie van den Broek, it is a slightly different story. They are competing together in mixed doubles, but have known each other a little longer, from previous tournaments.

“We played a tournament in Spain in February and then a second tournament in May in Bologna”, Dominik lets us know. Frequently training together, however, proved to be the biggest stumbling block. “At the end of May we knew we were going to play the European Para Championships. Then we arranged to train together in the middle of June. And then we had one training weekend in Switzerland.”

Dominik was eager to play in different disciplines, but reveals that there is a shortage of female players in Switzerland. “I’m a new player. I played my first tournament in February. I decided to contact Sophie to ask to play together. Now we are already playing our third tournament.”

Surprisingly, the country combination seems to be working out well for both of them. “I think we had good communication on the field and we understood what we both needed to do on the field’’, Dominik says after winning their first match. “We both have a passion for the sport.” So that seems to be the real deciding factor in playing together. Likewise for Brent: “It’s cool. It’s fun. It’s really our outlet.”

Throughout the week there are still badminton matches taking place in Ahoy. The Para Badminton finals will be held on Sunday, Aug. 20.

More News

EPC2023 Sustainability Report

EPC2023 Sustainability Report

European Para Championships Receives Bids from Two Potential Hosts for 2027 Championships

European Para Championships Receives Bids from Two Potential Hosts for 2027 Championships

Teaser EPC2023 documentary

Teaser EPC2023 documentary

Extraordinary impact achieved through the 2023 European Para Championships

Extraordinary impact achieved through the 2023 European Para Championships

All of Viktoria Modesta’s performances at the EPC2023 Opening Ceremony

All of Viktoria Modesta’s performances at the EPC2023 Opening Ceremony

Watch the #EPC2023 aftermovie

Watch the #EPC2023 aftermovie

Eric Kersten: ‘We have put this event on the map for the future’

Eric Kersten: ‘We have put this event on the map for the future’

Para sport got the attention it deserves!

Para sport got the attention it deserves!

Social Spotlight: The Best of #EPC2023

Social Spotlight: The Best of #EPC2023

Straathof will always remember the goosebump moments

Straathof will always remember the goosebump moments

All News