January 19, 2017 by Jo Pike
On Tuesday January 17th, the 2016 Men’s Badminton Doubles Olympic Bronze Medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge visited the home of Leicestershire badminton at Babington Community College for an evening of exhibition matches and on-court participation alongside some of the county’s top junior talent.
Young players whose ages ranged from 8 through to 18 watched the duo take on former Olympian and current Team Leicestershire Performance Director Anthony Clark in a thrilling exhibition match, showcasing the skill, speed and stamina needed to become a world-class badminton player. All the youngsters then had the chance to step on court and play Ellis & Langridge themselves, an amazing opportunity to pit their developing talents against the Olympic medallists – there was much excitement whenever a point was won against them!
The evening concluded with a Q & A session led by Anthony Clark, giving the juniors a chance to grill the pair and pick up tips and expert advice as well as discussing the recent decision taken by UK Sport to remove every penny of funding from badminton’s future Olympic programme, despite the incredible successes of the UK badminton team at the Rio Games last year. Marcus and Chris are part of Badminton England’s campaign to have this decision reviewed and all the players and their families were urged to support these efforts by signing an online petition.
One of Team Leics youngest players, Matilda Sherwin aged 8, summed up what she thought of the event: “It was amazing to meet the players in person and see how fast and strong they are. I’m doing bleep tests at school and now I know they can score up to 16 I’m going to train hard and beat it!”
The evening concluded with a chance to get racket bags signed and have photos taken with their heroes and their Olympic medals – an evening these young sports men and women will never forget!