EUROPEAN GAMES – Double doubles gold for Ellis

Marcus Ellis became the first Englishman in more than 3 decades to win a major badminton doubles double when he took two golds at the European Games in Minsk. By […]

Marcus Ellis became the first Englishman in more than 3 decades to win a major badminton doubles double when he took two golds at the in Minsk.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Mark Phelan / Badmintonphoto (live)

The biggest records had all been written by the end of the first match on Sunday at the European Games in Minsk.  They was when Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith (pictured) had finished their straight-game victory over compatriots Chris and Gabrielle Adcock to make Ellis the first ever double badminton gold medallist in one of the world’s newest competitions.

Marcus Ellis was already a distinguished doubles double winner.  Last year, he was one of only two international shuttlers to title twice in one day and while Wang Chi Lin did it at a Super 300 event, Ellis won both men’s and mixed doubles at three different Super 100 tournaments.  This already made him one of only 7 male Europeans to win a major doubles doubles since the turn of the millennium, although an eighth player, Minsk men’s doubles bronze medallist Ivan Sozonov, also won singles and doubles several years back.

The last doubles double by a male player at a European continental championship was 17 years ago, when Denmark’s Jens Eriksen won two titles.  The last time a British male player accomplished a comparable feat was in the mid-1980s, when Martin Dew won the doubles double a handful of times, including the 1984 , with the last one coming at the 1987 Poona Open.

Nor was it in any way easy for the Brits to take either title.  Ellis had lost to compatriot Chris Adcock on 5 of 6 occasions in international play, across 2 disciplines and with 5 different partners.  In both disciplines, Ellis and his partner had to take down the reigning European champions and in men’s doubles, that meant world #8 Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

The first gold for both Ellis and Great Britain came on Saturday evening and followed on from the women’s doubles final, where Ellis’s partner Lauren Smith was unable to stay on track for a mixed triple.  Smith and Chloe Birch were beaten in three games by Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen (pictured above) of the Netherlands.  It was the first continental title for any Dutch shuttler since Mia Audina won both singles and doubles 15 years ago.

Sunday finished with two golds for Denmark.  First Anders Antonsen (pictured right) shut down Brice Leverdez of France in three games.  It was the third final of the year for Antonsen, who already picked up the biggest title of his career so far in January when he won the Indonesia Masters Super 500.  However, it will likely be this gold medal from Minsk that will put the 22-year-old into the world’s top ten for the first time.

The last final featured two-time continental silver medallist Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland against Spain Masters champion Mia Blichfeldt (pictured left).  Gilmour had already taken care of defending champion Line Kjaersfeldt in the semi-finals and had won both of her previous encounters with the second-seeded Blichfeldt and looked set to give Britain a 3rd gold for the week.

However, Blichfeldt was having none of that.  She beat Gilmour in straight games and added the European Games title to her select but growing collection of titles, after she took her first Super 100 last year and her first Super 300 this past winter.

Repeat medallists

A total of 6 players went down a colour on the European Games podium this time around.  Russia’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya, whom Blichfeldt had ousted in the semi-finals, had won silver in women’s doubles 4 years ago in Baku but she had to settle for women’s singles bronze in Minsk.  Her former partner Ekaterina Bolotova was also relegated to bronze this time, but in doubles with new partner Alina Davletova.  Their compatriots Ivanov and Sozonov also went from silver to bronze in the men’s doubles.

Line Kjaersfeldt, the Baku gold medallist had to be happy with bronze in Minsk and her compatriot Sara Thygesen also went from mixed doubles gold in Baku to women’s doubles bronze in Minsk.  Finally, Chloe and Sam Magee of Ireland repeated as mixed doubles bronze medallists but both siblings stuck to just one discipline this time and thus Sam went from two bronze in Baku to just one in Minsk.

Results from Saturday’s finals
WD:  Selena Piek / Cheryl Seinen (NED) [4] beat Chloe Birch / Lauren Smith (GBR)  14-21, 21-13, 21-15
MD:  Marcus Ellis / Chris Langridge (GBR) [2] beat Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (DEN) [1]  21-17, 21-10
Results from Sunday’s finals
XD:  Marcus Ellis / Lauren Smith (GBR) [2] beat Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (GBR) [1]  21-14, 21-9
MS:  Anders Antonsen (DEN) [2] beat Brice Leverdez (FRA) [4]  21-19, 14-21, 21-10
WS:  Mia Blichfeldt (DEN) [2] beat Kirsty Gilmour (GBR) [3]  21-16, 21-17

Click here for complete results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net