Learna Herkes (left) and Charlotte Freer (right) both took medals for Exeter's Badminton Performance Centre.

Exeter Performance player wins gold at Badminton England Ranking Tournament

Exeter Performance Centre’s Learna Herkes claimed her first ever victory in a Badminton England Ranking tournament on 15 February at Dorest Badminton Performance Centre.

The Chulmleigh player made her way through the group stages with ease, dropping a mere 18 points in her opening four matches, before facing local favourite Rhiannon Lockie of Bournemouth in the semi-finals.

A much closer affair, points were traded on serve until Herkes broke through to take the first game 11-9. Finding her range the Exeter player worked the corners in the second game to win a by a more convincing 11-5.

The deciding game continued to provide exciting badminton, as Learna found herself 8-2 down. Learna’s dad, Richie Herkes was in the crowd and commented: “At 8-2 down it all started to get a bit stressful for the watching crowd, but what followed was some of the best U11s badminton I have seen on this year’s tour. As the watching father, this was the most intense I have ever seen her play, pushing her opponent around the court.”

In an impressive turn-around, Learna took the game 12:10 following an exception net shot at 10:9 down which turned the tide in her favour.

A more straight forward final saw Learna regain control against fellow Devonian Jasmine Roberts. Finding all of the corners and taking the pace of the shuttle saw her take gold with an 11-4, 11-4 victory.

The result rounded off a successful weekend for Learna, who not only gained her first Badminton England Ranking Point Tournament Victory, but also took silver in the doubles tournament with partner Charlotte Freer.

Learna and Charlotte both train at the Exeter Badminton Performance Centre based at the University of Exeter’s Sports Park. Head coach Kelvin Edwards commented: “This is a fantastic result for the centre, Learna has been working exceptionally well this new year, so it is brilliant to see her hard work rewarded with a first win and for her and Charlotte to reach the doubles finals.

“Tournaments like these are the only way to gain all-important ranking point, so a win will certainly help Learna to climb the national tables.”

Date: 6 March 2014

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