ARDEN School pupil Kiara Henry used the Under-17 National Championships to her benefit as the excitement of the bronze medal success of Chris Landridge and Marcus Ellis during the Rio Olympics continues to surround the sport.
The start of the English badminton season commenced on the weekend September 3-4 with the Under-17 National Championships.
Kiara took part in the championships as part of preparation for her own Under-15 National Championships coming later this month in Essex.
The 14-year-old took part in the singles, mixed and level doubles where she came up against some difficult opposition.
Kiara and her partner Toby Leung, from Devon, got off to a winning start in the competitive mixed match format only to be drawn against the top seeds and they lost out by respectable scores to the eventual Under-17 mixed winners Harry Huang and Sian Kelly.
Kiara’s true grit and determination, however prevailed in the level doubles with her partner Abbygael Harris from Staffordshire.
They won their initial matches comfortably setting up an encounter with the favoured, experienced and strong third seeds Hope Warner and Ellie Wheatley in the quarter-final stage.
Both Kiara and Abbygael played with aggression and tactical awareness, out-playing their opponents to take the first game 21-18.
In the second match it was a similar vein with some breathtaking and thrilling rallies between both pairs before Kiara and Abbygael eventually took the win 20-16.
This led to them being drawn to play against against the top seeded pair the following day in the semi-finals.
Kiara and Abbygael played well, but the older and top England pair of Freya Patel-Redfern and Molly Chapman stamped their authority, eventually winning 21-13 21-12 as they went on to become Under-17 National Champions.
Both Kiara and Abbygael were ‘inspired’ and ‘overjoyed’ in making it through to the final four and taking home a bronze medal.