“Yonex Latvia International 2021” has been postponed to August 26-29. Similarly, the Latvian tournament in 2020 was postponed due to Covid-19 from the beginning of June to the end of August. “Unfortunately, for two years in a row, the Latvian tournament cannot take place on time due to Covid-19,” says Kristians Rozenvalds, director of the tournament Yonex Latvia International and Secretary General of the Latvian Badminton Federation.
“Previously, the Latvian tournament took place one week before the Lithuanian tournament. Our cooperation with Lithuanians was one of the success factors. Players from near and far countries took the opportunity to include two world ranking tournaments in one trip. This year, most likely, we will hold our tournament alone again, as Lithuania hopes to hold its tournament at the scheduled time from 10 to 13 June. It should be noted that the Covid-19 situation in Lithuania is currently more favorable, so I believe that Lithuanians will succeed,” says Kristians Rozenvalds.
“We had a number of circumstances that affected the need for change. The first is that the Vaccination center is currently located in the Zemgale Olympic Center. There are also still problems with air traffic, especially with third countries. It is difficult to organize a meeting pointat the airport of Rīga, which is only open to passengers. Restrictions are also important here in Latvia. But the main reason is that by the beginning of May, when the entry deadline for the Latvian tournament expires, there will still be uncertainty all over the world and this would also affect participation in the Latvian tournament,” explains Kristians Rozenvalds.
“In 2020, we organized a relatively small tournament with participants from only 5 countries, although initially 118 players from 19 countries applied. However, this tournament was very important not only in Latvia, but all over the world, because it was the first world ranking tournament after the Covid-19 break. Our tournament was next after the prestigious Yonex All England in mid-March. That’s why the media wrote about the Latvian tournament all over the world,” recalls Kristians Rozenvalds, adding that he would not want to hold such a small and symbolic tournament for two years in a row. It is necessary to return to the scale it was in 2018, when the Latvian tournament with 335 participants from 40 countries was the largest tournament in Europe.
“It will be easier to organize such a tournament this year. A year ago, we were the first to learn from our experience, then there were no such well-balanced guidelines for epidemiological safety. Everything is now described in detail, including how to start games, how to umpire games, how to handle coaches and line judges, how to organize the Awards Ceremony. Compared to other sports, badminton is an epidemiologically safe sport, because the players are separated by a net, there is no direct contact with each other,” says Kristians Rozenvalds.
In 2021, the European U17 rating tournament “Yonex Latvia U17” will also take place in Latvia. This tournament is scheduled for Sigulda Sports Center from July 28 to 31. There are currently no plans to postpone this tournament. This year’s European U17 rating tournament in Latvia could be very interesting for players from other countries, as the Latvian tournament will take place shortly before the European U17 Championship (Slovenia, September 3-12), and the European U17 rating points won in the Latvian tournament will affect championship.
Anna Kupča wins first gold for Latvia
Anna Kupča became the first Latvian player to win gold at a European U17 circuit tournament. Kupča won the final against Spanish player Cristina Teruel in her town of Sigulda, near the capital of Latvia, Riga. The other four golds at the Yonex Latvia U17 International went to Estonia. Spain took home not only silver but also two bronze medals.
Two Estonian players won double gold. Tauri Kilk was the strongest in men’s singles and men’s doubles, meanwhile, Marta Emili Teller was victorious in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
The Latvia U17 International was held in the Sigulda Sports Centre for the second consecutive year. This year, the number of participants was more modest than a year ago, when young players from 14 countries participated in the tournament. This year, only four countries were represented – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Spain.
Kristians Rozenvalds, Secretary General of the Latvian Badminton Federation commenting on this special moment for Latvia said – “Anna Kupča’s success is historic, both because it is the first Latvian gold medal in one of the European U17 tournaments, and that this tournament was the first European U17 tournament held after COVID-19 forced a pause in the calendar. The last U17 tournament played was the Yonex France U17 Open on 21 February 2020”
Adding further comment on the importance of this tournament, Rozenvalds states: “It is a great responsibility, since the fate of many of the next European U17 tournaments will depend on how successful the tournament was in Sigulda. It is our historical mission to be the first to retake the path.”
Estonian badminton players triumph in Jelgava
Estonian badminton players won in all five disciplines of “Yonex Latvia International 2020” in Jelgava, moreover, Estonian player Mikels Lanes became the absolute champion of the tournament, winning men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Italian players won two second places, while Latvian players won three shared third places. The experienced Estonian women’s doubles pair Kati-Crete Marana & Helina Rūtela defended the title won in Jelgava last year. Last year’s winners in other disciplines did not participate in the Jelgava tournament this year.
“Yonex Latvia International 2020” was the first World Badminton ranking tournament after “Yonex All England” on March 15, 2020, so this badminton tournament, which took place at the Zemgale Olympic Center, received special attention all over the world.
>>> Winners of Yonex Latvia International 2020
>>> Winners of Yonex Latvia International 2019
>>> Winners of Yonex Latvia International 2018
>>> Winners of Yonex Latvia International 2017
>>> Winners of Yonex Latvia International 2016
>>> Winners of Yonex Rīga International 2015
>>> Winners of Yonex Rīga International 2014