Over 130 participants competed in Healthy Futures 2nd Annual Badminton Tournament on the 24th and 25th of July at Bethnal Green Technology College. Supported by Badminton England and the Middlesex Badminton Association, the tournament accumulated a range of talent from around the country, the majority of which were from Tower Hamlets.
Day one started with the group phase of the Junior Tournament as 72 hopeful young people battled their way to try and earn number one position. After a number of thrilling encounters in the group phase and semi-finals, 20 teams emerged victorious to make the semi-final stage. A second bout of high intensity badminton play saw the numbers whittle down to 8 finalists across the 4 age categories.
The first match of the finals was the Under 19 category in which Taffazul Islam and Masud Islam produced a truly mature performance, displaying composure and tactical genius from start to finish going on to win the game and age category. Euan Farrow and Jonathon Hau had to remain sharp as their opponents mixed up the play, hitting long and short shots, their focus paid off earning them the Under 15 champion spot. Jerrin George and Juned Alom successfully defended a barrage of smashes and close net encounters to scrape top spot in the Under 17 category. The most thrilling final however was saved until last with the two youngest players of the tournament, Joe and Akil aged 10 and 8. Their performance was nothing short of perfection as they swept away their opponents 4 years older than themselves in an absolutely breathtaking match, winning the Under 13 category.
The ‘Open Age’ category took place on the second day of the tournament, which saw 66 players from a number of badminton clubs represented, including ‘Black Arrows, ‘Osmani Badminton Academy’ and ‘Tower Hamlets Badminton Club’. Muhammad Shohid and Bablu Miah were favourites to win the tournament and they didn’t disappoint in the group stages where they obliterated all 5 of their opponents, topping their group. They made light work of winning the quarter and semi-final earning themselves a place in the final against Forid Aktar and Juned Ahmed.
The final was spectacular as both teams played an intense high paced match. Forid and Juned took the first set 22- 20. Shohid and Bablu had to respond in the second set to avoid defeat and they levelled in style as they upped the pressure and won the set, with a huge point difference of 16. It was now down to the wire in the third and final set of the tournament. Forid and Juned started well, earning a series of points in quick succession. At 20- 8, Shohid and Bablu brought the tournament to a close as a powerful smash led them to victory.
The tournament was honoured with the guest presence of the England Women’s Under 19 number one – Panuga Riou. After signing autographs and prize rackets she took to the net, where tournament participants had an opportunity to play against her. After giving all her opponents a lesson in how to win in style, she took to the centre stage where she posed with players for photographs.
The tournament drew to an close with the Councillor of Bow West Anwar Khan giving out the trophies, medals and the signed badminton rackets by Panuga Riou to winners and runners up. In his closing speech Anwar Khan said, “The tournament was well organised and Healthy Futures is doing a fantastic job in instilling healthy lifestyles in people in East London. I hope that the project continues to grow and we see more projects like Healthy Futures in Tower Hamlets”. The Annual Badminton Tournament was organised by Healthy Futures, a project of Osmani Trust.