Lydia strikes gold in Switzerland

Lydia Powell (left) and Jess Hopton with their gold medals at the Swiss Junior Open
Lydia Powell (left) and Jess Hopton with their gold medals at the Swiss Junior Open

Badminton star Lydia Powell struck gold at the Swiss Junior Open.

The 18-year-old from Hastings beat off competition from an international field to win the under-19 women’s doubles alongside Jess Hopton.

After a first round bye, 3/4 seeds Powell and Hopton saw off the Belgian combination of Presence Beelen and Ann Knaepen 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 in round two.

They were even more comprehensive winners in the quarter-finals, thrashing the French pair of Emillie Beaujean and Yaelle Hoyaux 11-2, 11-2, 11-3.

Powell and Hopton dropped their first set of the tournament in the semi-finals against Swiss duo Ronja Stern and Simone Von Rotz, but still ran out 11-5, 11-10, 7-11, 11-1 winners.

That set up an all-English final against top seeds Ira Banerjee and Jessica Pugh. That match also went to four sets before Powell and Hopton prevailed 11-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5.

Powell also took part in the under-19 women’s singles at the same event. Seeded 5/8, she had a first round bye before seeing off Slovenian player Ema Cizelij 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in round two.

Her hopes were ended, though, by an 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11 defeat to Stern in the last 16. Stern went on to reach the semi-finals, while Hopton was the eventual winner.

Powell was again seeded 5/8 in the under-19 mixed doubles alongside Sean Vendy. After a bye through round one, they lost 9-11, 9-11, 6-11 to the Indian twosome of Arjun Madathil Ramachandran and Kuhoo Garg in round two.

The former Parkwood 6th form student was also in action on the opening night of the new National Badminton League yesterday (Monday).

Powell was part of the Team Derby side which was narrowly beaten 3-2 in a Midlands derby against Birmingham Lions at the National Indoor Arena.

She and Helena Lewcynska went down 5-9, 4-9, 4-9 at the hands of Eastbourne-born Commonwealth Games silver medallist Heather Olver and Julie Bradbury in the women’s doubles rubber.

Televised on Sky Sports, the National Badminton League consists of six franchised teams featuring GB’s best players and new, emerging talent.

In addition to Birmingham (University of Birmingham) and Derby (University of Derby), Loughborough Sport (University of Loughborough), University of Nottingham Badminton (University of Nottingham), Surrey Smashers (University of Surrey) and Milton Keynes are also taking part.

The National Badminton League season will be played out over six Monday match-nights until next April. Derby’s next match is away to Loughborough on November 3.