Welwyn’s badminton star Matthew Widdicombe fab from start to Finnish in first European crown
PUBLISHED: 10:13 14 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:13 14 November 2014
Just as Manchester City now know all too well, European success does not come easy.
Having cracked the domestic scene, winning all sectors at county level from the age of 10 through to 17 - a feat never before achieved, University of Hertfordshire’s Matthew Widdicombe was hungry for silverware on the continent.
After working his way across Europe at events in Germany, Spain, Italy, Israel, Holland, Bulgaria, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland, he finally gained claimed a first tournament win overseas at the Finnish U19 Open last month.
It may not have been the singles triumph Matthew craves but his win alongside Bath University’s Angus Pedersen in the doubles, not dropping a game from start to finish, was testament to the pair’s Helsinki dominance.
Widdicombe told the WHT: “Angus won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles in that tournament so he was on a roll.
”I have won the U17 English Nationals with him before so we know each other’s games and make a good pair.
“For us to not lose a game all tournament made it extra special.
“On a personal note, I was delighted with the way I played.
“I have played in harder tournaments before, with players of higher rank competing, but I was still elated we came out on top.
“It was a close final and our opponents did not give up but in the end, we really deserved it.”
The youngster’s fine Finnish foray was reward after a gruelling season and his father, Paul, commended his son’s efforts.
“Matthew has travelled extensively throughout Europe playing badminton over the last 12 months,” he said.
“Winning the doubles in Finland is the highlight of his badminton career so far and a testament to the hard work and dedication he has made to his chosen sport.
“His family is extremely proud of his achievements in such a short space of time.”
Widdicombe’s natural ability for the sport has thus landed him a spot in the Hertforshire County first team, coached by former Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms.
While his short-team goal is to help Herts through in a nine-team tournament with other counties over the next three weeks, his ultimate goal is more gold on the European stage.
Widdicombe continued: “The U19 European Championships are being held in Poland in April next year so ideally I would make those and see if I can repeat the win in Finland.
“It does depend on selection by the National Governing Body for Badminton England but I have played well all year so hopefully I can gain a place for either the individual or team events.
“If I can build on this year’s achievements I will be more than happy. Hopefully another good year could entice me to step up onto the world stage in the future.”
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