The high performance program has had an extremely busy and positive first half of the year. The Senior Falcons have recently come back from a six-week European Tour where they competed in multiple tournaments and trained at the National Training Centre (Papendal) in the Netherlands. This was their first major international tour and the players came away with a rich learning experience on and off the court. They experienced training with different players, learning different playing styles, understanding how to adjust to different competition environments and caught a glimpse into what life on tour could potentially look like. The highlight of the trip was Kenneth Choo and Gronya Somerville winning the Dutch International Series. They played fantastic and it was a great way to finish the tour!
More recently, 10 senior Falcons have returned from China where they competed in the Sudirman Cup. For non-badminton readers, this is the World Cup of Badminton and the biggest team event of the year! The goal and expectation going in was to be competitive with the best players in the world and to come away with a win. All players were able to step up and play some of their best badminton. The mixed doubles (Ken and Gronya) were able to get a brilliant win against India which was a sensational effort. A highlight of the trip was the players being able to experience and learn first-hand what the gap is between them and the world’s best. They not only competed against the best, but they were able to watch them play, observe how they prepared for matches, how they competed, etc. During the week, the players, Vountus and I had many discussions around what they feel the gap is and what they need to do when they go home. The other highlight was seeing noticeable improvements in what they have been working on the last three months and watching them execute it on a world stage.
We are off to Northern Marianas in two weeks for two International Challenges. Some of the players will then head to Taiwan Open and Mongolia International Challenge. We are looking to achieve strong results at these tournaments. It’s been a great first half of the year and I am excited for the second half, which is looking just as busy as the first half of the year!