HARROGATE’S Jamie Bonsels was given a lesson at the English National Badminton Championships – but after a lengthy spell on the sidelines he admitted he loved every minute of it.
The 22-year-old was making his first appearance at the domestic showpiece event for three years after snapping his Achilles at the Manchester Velodrome back in 2010.
And after battling his way back to fitness, the former U-19s national champion, downed Ben Muir and sixth seed Robert Kettle to take his place in the men’s singles quarter-finals.
In the last eight he met his match however and was downed 21-15, 21-14 by second seed Carl Baxter, who has now lost in the final to Rajiv Ouseph for the last four years.
But rather than rue what might have been, Bonsels is adamant he’s just happy to be back on the court, saying: “I actually really quite enjoyed it out there and I thought I played really quite well.
“It has been a while since I played at the National Championships and so it was great to be playing out there again in front of the crowd and soaking up the atmosphere.
“Carl is a great player but I thought I did quite well against him. I held my own in spells and that’s really going to boost my confidence because when you’ve got such a long-term injury and at the age that I was when I suffered it, you worry about coming back.
“Bridging that gap between junior level and senior level is difficult and it was then that I got the injury.”
Despite his injury, Bonsels admits he had a point to prove at Bolton Arena, revealing he was disappointed to hear he was not in the top eight and as a result he entered the tournament unseeded.
But, having seen off Kettle and reached the quarter-finals, it was mission accomplished for Bonsels who cannot wait to have an injury-free run – just as soon as he’s got the small matter of completing his biomedical sciences degree at the University of Manchester out of the way.
“I looked at the seedings and I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t in the top eight so I’m glad I’ve managed to get to the quarters, I felt that looking at the draw I could do that,” he added.
“Now I’m just looking forward to getting some matches back at under my belt but I’ve got the last year of my degree so I need to worry about that first and then it is full steam ahead for next year.”
To experience the English athletes and worldwide Olympic hopefuls next in England, purchase tickets to the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships from March 6-11 2012 www.allenglandbadminton.com