Vaughan said: “It’s great that HEAD have agreed to sponsor the Academy, all the young players will benefit. HEAD provide a full support from good rackets to clothing, footwear, and top quality shuttles. So the junior players will be well looked after”.
Steve Heatley, Business Manager from HEAD UK Badminton said: “It’s great to link Richard Vaughan’s Academy with HEAD. We look forward to supporting young British talent especially in the build up to London 2012. We at HEAD are confident that Badminton players will like our products”.
HEAD equipment from rackets to footwear can be bought exclusively from YC Sports, Cardiff.
Vaughan GB No1 for the Sydney and Athens Olympics was out for a long period post Athens 2004 with a chronic fatigue type virus. Currently despite being GB No1 and hoping for Olympic selection Vaughan is neither funded by the UK World Class Programme or the Sports Council for Wales.
Vaughan said “It’s great to be back as GB No1, however it the main aim is to be GB No1 next May not now to ensure Olympic qualification. Its especially good to archive this when I have been unable to play as many tournaments as I would have liked to the past month due to funding situation, currently I am paying every expense tournament and training. Hopefully I can achieve equal or better results in the next 6 months, especially with the European Championships in April”
Vaughan said “With the period I was not competing I totally lost my World ranking and has to start again, playing qualification and smaller events. Unfortunately this period coincided with a change in the funding system which meant I have been unable to fully meant the tough criteria. There does however seem to be a great disparity between the home countries funding with numerous English players of similar ages to myself receiving very good funding through England, yet in Wales there is no funding”.
Next up is the French Super series followed by the Scottish Challenger.
The Richard Vaughan Badminton Academy has announced a close link with Catalan Badminton which is seeing two of its top female players playing for the Catalan Club Granollers.
Vikki Jones and Rachel Thomas both played in the opening ties last weekend winning all matches helping Granollers to a 7-0, and 6-1 victory.
Richard Vaughan said “This is a great opportunity for the Academy players to train with foreign players away from the UK environment. Rachel and Vikki have already spent some time training there with the Catalan regional Team; the opportunity to play in the Spanish league is only good for them. Hopefully this link can be continued for other players if they improve, and we plan to send more to Catalunya training in the New Year. Additionally some of the Catalan players will come here to train and we can only benefit it’s great news.”
Vaughan went of to a great start with a 11-6 lead at the break, but this was clawed back by Mikkelsen who had the first match point at 20-19, eventually winning the et 22-20. In the second set Mikkelsen got of to a flying start before Vaughan this time clawed himself back in to the game with a 15-13 lead. Once again a combination of some good play by Mikkelsen and some mistakes by Vaughan saw Mikkelsen take it 21-15.
Vaughan said “It was a tough match and I never quite got in to the game. The shuttles were fast and Mikkelsens attacking style was difficult to cope with. That said I still had leads around the 15 point mark in both sets so there are no excuses. I had a great chance to win the tournament and it’s a missed opportunity.”
“On the positive side I won numerous games which were hard on paper convincingly and I will only get better with the match practice”.
Mikkelsen went on to take the title against Germany’s Zweibler in straight sets.