Feedback from the European Para-Badminton Championships: Medal is a historic achievement that we will want to build on, says coach Voves


In the second half of August, Czech Para-Badminton won a historic medal at the European Championships, which was won by Kamil Šnajdar in the mixed doubles wheelchair event. The four quarter-final appearances of Zbyněk Sýkora and Jan Matoušek are also impressive. Read the feedback from selected participants and the coaching team.

Czech Para-Badminton Team at the European Championships in Rotterdam. Photo: Badminton Sharks Brno

Kamil Šnajdar's bronze medal was initially due to a great coincidence. "It was also a bit of luck, because Kamil was playing instead of the seeded Englishman David Follett, who refused to participate at the last moment. Kamil, together with Marilou Maurel from France, gave a focused performance and confirmed their promising chances. This is a historic success, which we will want to build on," said Kamil's coach Tomáš Voves.

As the current Czech number one in WH1 singles, Šnajdar is gradually getting to know his opponents from abroad, the bronze from the European Championships is an extraordinary achievement and a great motivation for further work. "I took part in three disciplines at the European Championships. In doubles, Lukas Kyncl and I had very strong opponents and it was not in our power to advance from the group. In the singles I had more chances, but I couldn't advance there either. We achieved a much better result in the mixed doubles, where my coach got me a teammate from France just before the tournament started. We won the main group and went straight to the semi-finals, where we eventually won the bronze medals! Overall, I rate my participation in the championship well, I played some decent matches and I know well what I need to improve before the next tournaments," evaluated the bronze medalist Kamil Šnajdar.

Bronze selfie of Kamil Šnajdar and Marily Maurel. Photo: Badminton Sharks Brno

Also in the other four quarterfinal matches of the wheelchair athletes, the Czech representatives had the opportunity to fight for the European medal. Jan Matoušek clearly lost to Afinogen from Israel in the singles, but in the mix, he and Poland's Natalia Grzyb fought a tough three-set battle against the Swiss-Turkish duo of Porrenga, Goksen and a medal was definitely not far away. Together with Miloš Bauer they also played in the doubles, but unfortunately advancing from the group stage was beyond their strength.

Matoušek had slightly mixed feelings after the championship, especially about the close quarter-final loss. The same goes for the mix, which is what I was most focused on, but when you play for a medal and lose it has a bitter aftertaste, so there is a little disappointment and sadness, but with a fighting spirit and a feeling that we left everything out there. In the doubles, Milos and I knew very well what we were getting into and the strength that was always against us, so every point we won was very valuable for us. The European Championships were fantastically organised and Rotterdam is a beautiful city."

The other double quarter-finalist was Zbyněk Sýkora. The singles match for the medal was the second at the tournament with the same opponent, the later winner German Wandschneider was unerring in both cases and clearly dominated the match and the tournament. In the doubles Zbyněk joined forces with the Frenchman Stephen Durand, after advancing from the group they could not keep up with the French pair Jakobs, Toupe in the quarterfinals. Sýkor's singles conqueror Wandschneider finally left the European Championships with the doubles gold.

Zbyněk Sýkora was very enthusiastic in his post-tournament statement. It was a great honour for me to play against the winner of the tournament and world parabadminton legend Thomas Wandschneider and I have to say that he really knows how to do it. I'm very happy about the fifth place in both doubles and singles, which motivates me for more training and more tournaments, which I'm really looking forward to. I would also like to thank French player Stephen Durand, with whom I played doubles, for his valuable advice and enjoyment of the game." Coach Voves also confirmed the strength of the doubles pairs. Only Zbyněk scored with the great Frenchman Stephen Durand, the 5th place is a nice card for Czech Para-Badminton."

Coach Mikuláš Müller also added a positive assessment of the Czech team. Kamil Šnajdar also gave a determined performance and fought his way to the bronze medal, which is a huge success."

And finally, the Czech Para-Badminton pilot Tomáš Voves adds, "At the European Championships, the Czech players won 10 matches, 4 quarter-finals for Zbyněk Sýkora and Jan "Mates" Matoušek and a historic bronze medal for Kamil Šnajdar. Every set or match won counts in world tournaments with Asian participation. At the European Championships, thanks to the three-person groups in singles, advancing out of the group was more realistic. Our players had hopes for four advancements in singles. In the end only Mates and Zbynek turned it around and placed 5th. In the mix, capable teammates played a crucial role. Mates played with the best Polish woman on a wheelchair, Kamil with a star from France. Kamil went straight from the group to the semi-finals thanks to their seeding, which secured them the bronze medal. It's a sensation! Mates and Natalia unluckily missed the medal in the end of the 3rd set, but even 5th place is a very nice result. The young Filip Rataj in the standing group with upper limb disability ran into 2 future medalists, so in his case it was about gaining experience and feeling the atmosphere of the championship. However, I think it was very good that he participated and got to know his opponents live. I thank all the players for representing me, all my teammates and also thank my colleague Mikuláš Müller for his excellent cooperation. Then I would like to thank the Czech Badminton Federation, the Czech Paralympic Committee and the sending clubs - Badminton Sharks Brno, BA Plzeň and SK Badminton Český Krumlov for their financial support."

Next up for the Czech players this year are the Polish Championships, the Slovak Championships, the World Games in Thailand, but also a possible tournament in Japan.

Full results of the European Para Badminton Championships 2023 can be found here.