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New European Junior Champions crowned

Bulgarian teenage sensation Stefani Stoeva emerged from Ankara as the undoubted star of the tournament after storming her way two a pair of gold medals in the women’s singles and women’s doubles.

The softly spoken Stoeva came into the tournament as one of the definite favourites for the individual gold but in a field that had class and quality in depth her assault on the individual title was always going to be a big challenge.

The final in Ankara was always going to be Stoeva’s toughest test and in the shape of Line Kjaersfeldt, Stoeva had an opponent that she lost to only a few short weeks ago at the Swiss Open. Today however Stoeva was crowned queen of the junior courts in a match that for the most part she controlled while the normal consistent Kjaersfeldt stuttered and stumbled and struggled with her own performance as well as the undoubted quality of play from Stoeva.

The writing was on the wall early for Kjaerslfedt as Stoeva took an early lead with a 21-13 win in the opening game. But the Dane was not about to give up easily and came back in the second and with four game points looked to be finding her game and rhythm. But Stoeva battled hard to fight back to 20-20 and even though the Dane eventually took the second game 25-23 she was clearly shaken by the Bulgarians comeback and was feeling some insecurity with her own nerves and emotions.

The deciding game ebbed and flowed but it was Kjaersfeldt who was making too many unforced errors and Stoeva did not require a second invitation to take her chances. Stoeva eventually to the match 21-19 and with it the first of her two gold medals at this years European Junior Championships.

“This has been my focus all year. It was important to get a good start against Line and I knew she was struggling a bit with her game. I had a tactic of pushing her to the rear court which worked and it was important for me to stay focused. I am just so happy to win this medal.”

Two European titles for Bulgaria and Denmark

Stefani followed up her individual win with a dominant display in the final match of the tournament alongside sister Gabriela. The Stoeva’s sisters were hot favourites for the title and they duly delivered with a two game win over Danish pair Finne-Ipsen and Hansen.

“We lost a little focus in the second game and our coach had to remind us to stay focused and concentrate". Said Gabriela after her victory.

Speaking about her double gold achievement, Stefani Stoeva was almost speechless after the victory. “It has not really sunk in what I have achieved here this week. I always knew we had a big chance in the doubles but the singles win was always going to be much more difficult. I am just so happy and can now call myself double European junior champion”

Ruthless Roth

Germany’s Fabian Roth proved he was the most consistent men’s singles performer this week in Ankara as he lifted the men’s singles title to go with his bronze from the team competition. Roth was ruthless against Mark Caljouw of The Netherlands and in just 22 minutes lifted the European crown in two games.

“It really has not sunk in yet that I have won. It was a match where everything went right for me and my game got better with each match. It was also important for Germany with only one player in the finals”

It is the third title in the men's singles event for a German shuttler after Björn Joppien (1999) and the current European Champion Marc Zwiebler (2003) took the title in previous years.

Two for Denmark but disappointment for The Netherlands

There was added disappointment for The Netherlands as Myke Halkema and Robin Tabeling had to settle for silver in the mixed doubles as Danish duo of Daugard and Fruergaard powered home in two games. The key for the Danes was the almost faultless serving of Fruergaard which made life easy for Daugard from the rear court.

Denmark’s second gold medal came in the men’s doubles from the unlikeliest of sources, Antonsen and Babic. In an all Danish final it was a case of which pair could deal with the pressure and their own emotions the best and it was clear that the calm personalities of Antonsen and Babic had a clear advantage.

“This was always going to be tough playing against your friends and team mates but I think we controlled our nerves and dealt better with the pressure.”

“We came here to win but really probably did not believe it would happen if I am honest but now we are European champions and it is a great feeling” said Babic after their two game victory.

The 2013 European Junior Championships finals

  • MS: Fabian Roth (GER) - Mark Caljouw (NED) 21-17, 21-14
  • WS: Stefani Stoeva (BUL) - Line Kjærsfeldt (DEN) 21-13, 23-25, 21-19
  • MD: Antonsen/Babic (DEN) - Daugaard/Christiansen (DEN) 21-17, 25-23
  • WD: Stoeva/Stoeva (BUL) - Finne-Ipsen/Hansen (DEN) 21-11, 21-18
  • XD: Daugaard/Fruergaard (DEN) - Tabeling/Halkema (NED) 21-15, 21-18

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via Badminton Europe

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