BADMINTON: Rachael is Ireland's Young Player of the Year

Rachael Woods smashes from the back of the court.
Rachael Woods smashes from the back of the court.

We are now entering the time of the year when many Awards Evenings are taking place and Badminton Ireland is no exception with the annual event being sold out this year at the Clayton Hotel at Dublin Airport.

However Alpha Badminton Club can certainly be particularly proud that THREE of the four nominations for the prestigious Young Player of the Year award were from the Lisburn club with Rachael Woods, having missed out on the award last year when Nhat Nyguyen was the obvious winner as he made his mark on the international stage, hoping to go one better and claim the award.

Rachael, who has got her 2017/18 season off to an incredible start by finishing as runner-up in the Mixed Doubles in the prestigious Swedish Youth Games in Malmo - and only lost out in the singles to the eventual winner at the semi-final stage - and was also to spend her mid-term break back in February at the renowned Yonex French Under 17 Open narrowly failing to reach the final of both the singles and the doubles with her twin sister Rebecca, who had also enjoyed an incredible 2017 and fully justified her nomination for the award too.

Matthew Cheung, the young RBAI pupil, has had a meteoric rise to prominence over the past couple of years but certainly announced his intentions on the international stage when he competed in the Swedish Youth Games at Under 13 level in Malmo, and only missed out on playing in the final when he had to catch his pre-arranged flight home.

It was admitted that the judges task of separating the Alpha trio and the fourth nomination Sophia Noble was a very difficult one, such was the ‘great pool of young talent emerging’ at this particular age-group but it was second time lucky for Alpha’s Rachael Woods.