ALEX Dunn and Eleanor O’Donnell have given themselves a significant boost as they prepare to switch their full focus to senior international badminton by claiming silver medals at the European Junior Championships in Denmark.
The Scottish teenagers went into the competition unseeded but saw off Slovakian fourth seeds Miha Ivancic and Petra Polanc in the last 16 to give themselves a chance of getting into medal contention and went on to guarantee themselves a medal with a straight-sets quarter-final defeat of England’s Callum Hemming and Fee Teng Lieuw.
They then produced an even bigger upset in the semi-final with a great display of character when they recovered from losing a tight opener to Poles Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swierczynska, the top seeds, to come through 19-21 21-14 22-20.
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Having had to play an extra match because their opponents in the final, like all of the top-four seeds, had been given an opening round bye, their tough run came to an end at the hands of Russia’s Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova. Despite the defeat to the seconds seeds, the Scots duo’s coach Robert Blair, a World Championship silver medallist and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in his own playing days, expressed satisfaction with the way they performed.
“It’s obviously a disappointing result, but should not put a damper on what has been a wonderful week for Alex and Eleanor,” he said.
“They have performed very well and risen to all the challenges that faced them. Today they needed to be very disciplined as the Russians were powerful and good on the net.”