Young Leeds badminton stars prove cream of the crop

Caption: Jessica Fletcher (left) and Sarah Milne were two of the stars for Leeds

Leeds cemented its place as a hotbed of talented young badminton players by claiming superb results in the recent Junior National Championships.

The squad, who are all part of Leeds City Council’s Badminton Development Scheme, came away from the under-19s and under-17s events held at Milton Keynes and Stoke respectively with six of the 10 national titles on offer.

Under the tutelage of Racket Sports Development Officer Brian Wallwork, the squad took on the finest young players in the country and claimed an impressive haul of 14 medals overall.

Leading the way were 16-year-old duo Jessica Fletcher from Garforth and Sarah Milne from Bardsey. The pair teamed up to win the girls doubles at both under-19 and under-17 level, while Sarah also won the under-17s girls singles and claimed silver medals in the under-17s mixed doubles and the under-19s girls singles. Jessica was also a multiple medallist as she secured another gold by winning the under-17s mixed doubles.

As a result of their success the duo, following in the footsteps of fellow Leeds stars Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White who came through the same training scheme and are now established full internationals, will now take on the best young players in Europe at two tournaments this month.

The pair have been selected to represent England at the European Under-19 Team and Individual Championships which begin in Milan this week (April 2-12) as well as at the Under-17s Six Nations event to be held in Copenhagen in Denmark on April 22-26.

They will be joined in Italy by fellow Leeds juniors Mark Middleton and Kate Robertshaw, who won the boys doubles and girls singles respectively at under-19 level, while Mark also won silver in the under-19 mixed doubles.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This is another set of fantastic results for our junior sports stars in Leeds. Following on from the superb results our divers achieved at their recent national championships, this further underlines the great young sporting talent we have here in Leeds and it is marvellous to see that talent showing itself at the highest levels like this.

“We are really proud of the players for their accomplishments and great credit must also go to Brian Wallwork and his team of coaches for helping them develop and perform so well.”

The Badminton Development Scheme in Leeds is the largest and most successful of its kind in the UK. The Advanced Training Scheme is for promising juniors aged 8-18, and is renowned for producing players who go on to perform at ‘elite’ level. For further information contact Racket Sports Development Officer Brian Wallwork on 0113 395 0187 or email racketsports@leeds.gov.uk.

Notes to editors:

The full breakdown of Leeds medal winners at the Under-19 and Under-17 Junior National Championships is as follows:

Gold - Mark Middleton (Leeds) - Boys Doubles
Gold - Sarah Milne (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Kate Robertshaw (Leeds) - Girls Singles

Silver - Sarah Milne - Girls Singles
Silver - Mark Middleton - Mixed Doubles

Gold - Sarah Milne (Leeds) - Girls Singles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Sarah Milne - Girls Doubles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher - Mixed Doubles

Silver - Sarah Milne - Mixed Doubles

Bronze - Sophie Brown (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Bronze - Laura Mercer (Leeds) - Mixed Doubles


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer, 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk