Motherwell badminton star Alex Dunn and partner Eleanor O’Donnell produced a fantastic run of victories to reach the European Junior Championships mixed doubles final in Mulhouse, France, on Sunday.
Sadly, the Scots’ brilliant campaign ended in disappointment when they fell to Russian second seeds Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova 21-16 21-14 in just 24 minutes. But the unseeded 18-year-olds can be well pleased with their silvers.
Alex and Eleanor’s run to the final included a 17-21 21-10 21-14 victory over the Slovenian fourth seeds Miha Ivancic and Petra Polanc in the second round and a nail-biting 19-21 21-14 22-20 win against the Polish top seeds Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swiercynska in the semi-finals.
Dunn has now added a silver medal to the bronze he won with Adam Hall in the men’s doubles in Lubin two years ago.
In the final the Scots duo came up against a strong Russian pair and kept in contention up to 10-10 in the first game before the Russians surged ahead 17-11.
A strong start to the second game, where they swept into a 9-1 lead, put Alimov and Davletova in control and although Dunn and O’Donnell recovered from 15-6 down to within four points at 15-11 the Russians remained strong and closed out the contest.
Coach Robert Blair said: “It’s obviously a disappointing result, but should not be a damper on what has been a wonderful week for Alex and Eleanor.
“They have performed very well and risen to all the challenges that faced them. Today they needed to be very disciplined as the Russians were powerful and good on the net. This meant a change of tactics from the previous games and at times they fell into the trap of playing the game where the Russians were strong.
“This should be a good experience for them and hopefully get them ready for similar success in senior badminton.”
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: “I am sure Alex and Eleanor will be disappointed that they aren’t bringing home gold but they should be very proud of their achievements over the last few days.
“They have produced some great wins to get to the final and they thoroughly deserve their silver medal.”
O’Donnell will make her Scotland international debut at the Sudirman Cup in Australia’s Gold Coast next month.