Student takes European badminton championship title

Student takes European badminton championship title

2nd April 2014


A YOUNG badminton star has smashed his record as the number one U17s doubles player in England by taking a European championship title.

Matt Clare, a student at Ripon Grammar School, added to his haul of medals with a gold in the U17 men’s doubles with partner Ben Lane and a silver in the team event for England at the championships held in Ankara, Turkey.

It means Matt is on the cusp of his dream to play professionally once he completes his A levels next year.

The 17-year-old and his partner rarely get to play together since Ben lives in Devon, but their coach believes the boys are the perfect partnership.

“He tells us that a strong partnership needs one who is steady and doesn’t make mistakes and another who will go for it and create things. Ben’s the steady one and I’m the one who will win points,” explained Matt, of Sutton Grange, Ripon.

The pair beat tough Danish opposition in the semi final to earn a place in the final against a Russian duo, who they went on to beat 21-15 and 21-17.

“They were really big and powerful whereas we are quite small and skillful,” Matt explained. “We knew it was going to be difficult. I’d never been in that situation before and I was very nervous, so it was quite a surprise to win.

“Our coach told us what tactics to use and they were really effective from the start so the Russians just couldn’t catch up.”

His mum Julie was working in the United States at the time and saw the match on live stream, but his dad Chris cannot bear to watch.

Matt , who got ten GCSEs at A*, A and B last year, combines competitions and training with Leeds Metropolitan University team with studying for A levels in chemistry, biology, geography and PE.

After taking the European title it is likely he will now be asked to play for senior clubs abroad as he embarks on a professional career in the sport he started playing as an eight-year-old.

“My dad played for Kent so when we were old enough my sister and I went with him. He found a beginners’ session at Harrogate Racquets Club and from that I got invited to Yorkshire trials then got asked to play for Yorkshire,” said Matt, who joined the World Class Start programme aged 11.

Head master at Ripon Grammar School Martin Pearman said the school was committed to supporting Matt, both academically and in fulfilling his sporting potential.

He said: “We are all extremely proud of Matt’s achievements. His talent is clear and he thoroughly deserves the success he is enjoying. With the support of his teachers and parents, he is also doing a fantastic job in school as well, taking a very mature approach to his studies alongside his sporting commitments.”

Matt’s next major competition is the world championships in Malaysia during the Easter holidays when he will play for England at U19s.

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