After Yonex International Varberg has been canceled for two consecutive years due to the pandemic, one of the major badminton events of the year in the city is back this weekend. A total of 197 participants are enrolled in classes of U11 through Elite + U19.
In addition to visitors from almost all over Sweden, players from Norway, Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom also participated. They played in Sparbankshallen, Idrottshallen, E-hallen and in Idrottshall of Peder Skrivare.
It’s good to be ready to go after all the planning. Henrik Rönnelius, Varbergs Badminton Club coach and one of the project leaders behind the tournament says it’s fun to see the badminton family and everyone is trying and fighting.
The pandemic also contributed to this this time when planning meetings began in late March, instead of at Christmas as usual.
– I became exhausted. It’s hard to get people together in such a short time, and this weekend Valborg so many of them have other plans. But we put it together.
Varbergs Badminton Club had two participants in the Elite+ U19 class and three in the U13. In the top category, Adam Runelius and Bjorn Ericsson had to start Saturday with a tough double match against Jesper de Waal (Malmö Badminton Club) and Martin Norman (IFK Umeå), who finished losing in straight sets.
– Adam and I both saw the match as a bit like a warm-up because we knew those we met were much better in advance, says Bjorn Eriksson.
With 41 years of experience, Bjorn Ericsson, among others, spent time at Badminton High School in his bags before retiring due to injuries in his early twenties. Bjorn grew up in Östersund but has now moved to Varberg and has resumed badminton for about four years. He remembers the tournament as a young player.
– When I was young, you knew this was a huge competition that I wanted to play. Went in early May when the sun was shining and people were craving it.
Adam Runelius has been playing badminton since his father Henrik had a racquet in his hands when he was very young. He’s been in every version since he played in U11.
– Previously, this was one of the largest competitions in Europe. I think it means a lot to the club and it’s exciting to be able to continue to be so competitive. As he says, we get real judges in the playoffs.
Among the international participants was 15-year-old Sai Abhigna Brahmakal. She was adopted from Bangalore, India and now lives in Espoo outside Helsinki. There she plays at Espoon Sulkapallo-Badminton club.
– It’s a very good atmosphere. We looked around a bit and Varberg was a beautiful town, she says.
She has been playing badminton since she was nine years old and has tried to take part in many competitions abroad. Now she is investing heavily.
– I like this badminton going so fast and I’m good at long duels. I think I have a very good chance of getting far if I struggle really hard. I want to go to the top of the world.
The tournament is not only good for the club but also for boosting interest in badminton in general, according to Bjorn Eriksson.
We are a very small club with not many members at all. It’s important to let people know about Varberg’s badminton presence, he said.
“Coffee trailblazer. Passionate thinker. Creator. Hipster-friendly internet enthusiast.”