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Becoming European champion was 'the best day of my life' says badminton star Matt Clare

News   •   Mar 27, 2014 11:00 GMT

England's under-17 badminton players have just returned from the European Championships in Turkey as overall champions after topping the medal table with two golds, two silvers and one bronze.

All five of the athletes in the team have been supported by SportsAid including men's doubles champion Matt Clare who described the victory with partner Ben Lane as the best day of his life (see photo).

On their way to the final against the top-seeded Russian pair Matt and Ben beat the second-seeded duo from Denmark, who they had faced together before.

"I knew we could beat them as we had only narrowly lost to them 22:20 in the deciding game of the Danish Junior Cup back in October," Matt told SportsAid this week.

But there was still a lot of work to be done. "Their results on the way to the final had been impressive," he explains. "They had won all of them comfortably, whereas ours had been somewhat closer! I knew we could win, but I wasn't necessarily expecting to."

"It felt great," he added.

Unquestionably the highlight of the competition for Matt though was winning the final point against the Russians.

"I know from experience that sometimes when you think you are home and dry, things can turn, and you end up losing. You're never safe until you get that final point," he explained.

Having received SportsAid Awards in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Matt says, "It's great to know that people care about what we're trying to achieve through our sports." Adding that the support has also helped him with his training costs.

"It's a 70-mile round trip four nights each week so just getting there costs a lot these days."

Here are the full results from the European under-17 Badminton Championships in Turkey:

Men's singles

  • Gold: Anders Antonsen (DEN) 
  • Silver: Toma Junior Popov (FRA)
  • Bronze: Wolfgang Gnedt (AUT) / David King (ENG) from Horsham in West Sussex, SportsAid Award 2014

Women's singles

  • Gold: Yvonne Li (GER)
  • Silver: Ira Banerjee (ENG) from Chandler's Ford in Hampshire, SportsAid Awards in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Bronze:  Clara Azurmendi (ESP) / 3. Julie Macpherson (SCO)

Men's doubles

  • Gold: Matthew Clare from Ripon in North Yorkshire, SportsAid Awards in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013; Ben Lane from Exmouth in Devon, SportsAid Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (ENG)
  • Silver: Rodion Alimov/Alexandr Kozyrev (RUS)
  • Bronze: Joel Eipe/Jeppe Bay Madsen (DEN); Bjarne Geiss/Daniel Seifert (GER)

Women's doubles

  • Gold: Katarina Galenic/Maja Pavlinic (CRO)
  • Silver: Ira Banerjee from Chandler's Ford in Hampshire, SportsAid Awards in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; Jessica Pugh from Leeds in West Yorkshire, SportsAid Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (ENG) 
  • Bronze: Cecilie Finne-Ipsen/Julie Dawall Jakobsen (DEN); Kader Inal/Fatma Nur Yavuz (TUR)

Mixed doubles

  • Gold: Ben Lane from Exmouth in Devon, SportsAid Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (ENG); Jessica Pugh from Leeds in West Yorkshire, SportsAid Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (ENG) 
  • Silver: Rodion Alimov/Alina Davletova (RUS)
  • Bronze: Melih Turgut/Fatma Nur Yavuz (TUR); Ditlev Jæger Holm/Cecilie Finne-Ipsen (DEN)

Read more on the Badminton Europe website.

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