Yonex Welsh Nationals

Posted by James Phillips at 09:01 on 25 January 2015

Nationals

National Champion: an accolade that many aspire to and only the few achieve.

Every year, players from the National squads (seniors as well as U17 and U19), county and club players descend upon Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff for two days of fierce competition in order to claim the prestigious title. 

As Nessa from Gavin and Stacey once said, ‘I see every thread of life's rich tapestry in between these three walls, the whole spectrum of human emotion. I see victory, I see defeat, anticipation, emancipation and demoralization…’

And that’s what you see at the Nationals. Whilst the settings are very different the commonality is the pursuit of the big win. With that in mind there is no bigger win than the Triple Crown and in the 2014 Nationals Dan Font achieved just that, no mean feat over 2 days of gruelling competition. This year, Font will be looking to defend all three titles but has different partners for the doubles events.

Font says of the tournament, ‘I really look forward to playing the Senior Nationals as it brings out the best in Wales. It always has exciting games and is a friendly but competitive competition. Hopefully I can defend the titles that I won last year.’

In the Men’s singles, Font will see challenges from last year’s finalist Tsung Fong Mo as well as strong competition from other High Performance players.

The MD sees last year’s finalists swap partners with Font partnering recently retired international Joe Morgan and 2014 winner Oliver Gwilt team up with Nic Strange. While both pairs will be hoping to reach this year’s final, there are other pairs who hope to be battling it out in the final for the title themselves.  HPC SE coach and former International Matt Hughes will partner Michael Lewis, the younger brother of Hughes’ former partner, Martyn Lewis. Last year’s semi-finalists Dominic Brown will also be hoping to go one round better in this year’s Championships with new doubles partner Barry Garnham. 

Font and Sarah Thomas were the mixed Champions in 2014 but this year Font is partnering senior international Aimee Moran whilst Thomas partners Joe Morgan. Nic Strange will be partnering last year’s finalist Vikki Jones to contest the title. Strange and Jones have successfully partnered each other before reaching the finals of the 2011 Nationals. A newly formed brother and sister partnership of Oliver and Emilie Gwilt will also be in pursuit of the title. The Gwilts’ played their first competition together in November at the Welsh International and are now testing themselves against their fellow countrymen and women.

In the ladies singles, senior international Carissa Turner will be looking to defend her singles title for another year. Last year’s finalist and teammate Aimee Moran will also be looking to make this year’s final. Last year’s semi-finalist Jordan Hart and NBL University of Nottingham player Ellen Mahenthiralingam will be pushing them both to claim a place in the finals.

In the ladies doubles, Turner will also be looking to retain her title for another year with doubles partner Sarah Thomas.  Last year’s runner-up Aimee Moran and Vikki Jones will be hoping they can go one better this year with new partners, Ellen Mahenthiralingam and Gean Sou Mo respectively.

Turner has achieved the Double since season 2012-2013 and is keen to maintain it this year. She says of the Nationals, ‘The Nationals is a very important tournament on all players’ calendars. Tension can be high at times with teammates battling one another for the titles and everyone chasing the win. I hope I can defend my Singles and Doubles Titles for a third year.’

Organiser James Phillips says of the event, “The Yonex Welsh Nationals is one of our most celebrated events and every player dreams of being a National Champion. There promises to be some highly competitive and fierce matches to look forward to.’

Please click here for the entry list.