Youth sport - badminton: Ollie's mixing with the best in England

QUARTER-FINALIST: Ollie Baczala (left) with doubles partner Darren Adamson

QUARTER-FINALIST: Ollie Baczala (left) with doubles partner Darren Adamson

First published in Sport by

IT WAS mission accomplished for Bournemouth’s Ollie Baczala after reaching the English Bad-minton National Championships quarter-finals earlier this month – and the teenager insists a new batch of targets lie in wait.

Alongside doubles partner Darren Adamson, Baczala navigated his way through to the weekend’s play at stadium:mk in Milton Keynes, the tournament’s first appearance at the arena.

It was a whole new challenge altogether when confronted with England number one pairing Chris Adcock and Andy Ellis in the quarter-finals.

Despite losing 21-11 21-13, the 19-year-old believes he certainly did himself justice. And Baczala is not planning to sit back and revel in his success after setting himself fresh goals with different pairings “I thought it was a good game, we played well and got our tactics right, we got as far as we wanted and they’re a really experienced pair at number nine in the world so it was a good performance,” he said.

“It was the first time we played them and if we do so again hopefully we’ll get some better scores and see how far we’ve improved. My aim was to get to the quarter-finals and anything else would be a bonus.

“Now we’ve got a couple of silvers with some more experienced partnerships to gain experience with them.

“Darren and I started in April last year and we’ve played quite well together, we’ve had a couple of good results in the Dutch and German juniors, beating good pairs. We worked well together so I might team up more with him.”

It is not the first time the former St Peter’s School pupil has faced England’s finest after coming up against number two pair Chris Langridge and Heather Olver this season.

He admits his first year on the senior stage has been a baptism of fire – but is relishing the challenges that lie ahead.

“This is my first year of seniors and it’s been a massive step up,” he added. “I played the Scottish Grand Prix and played Langridge and Olver so it’s a case of being thrown into the deep end.

“Mixed is going really well for me and I think it’s stronger than doubles, I’m with Viki Williams. It’s our first year together and we’re getting some good results. This year is about getting used to this level.”

  •  Tickets for the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at the NIA in Birmingham are available at www.allenglandbadminton.com or call the box office on 0844 444 9994

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