IT WAS third time lucky for Fontaine Chapman who admitted winning the English National Badminton Championship was a dream come true after losing in two previous women’s singles finals.
Chapman, from Binley, finally tasted success after defeats in 2013 and 2015 as she ‘fought a few demons’ to beat Chloe Birch 21-15, 21-16 in Sunday’s final at University of Derby’s Sports Centre.
“It was amazing to win the Nationals,” said Chapman. “It means everything to me because it is the title that everybody in England wants to win.
“Having lost the final a couple of times before, when you feel like you had the chance to win but then lost is devastating and is tough to pick yourself up after that, so to finally win it is a great feeling.”
The former Ernesford Grange School pupil was still on cloud nine when lining up for Birmingham Lions 24 hours later as they took on Loughborough Sport in the AJ Bell National Badminton League.
Chapman faced Birch once again at Loughborough University’s Sir David Wallace Arena and it looked as though it would be a repeat performance as the 26-year-old raced to a 2-0 lead with her Birmingham Lions side already leading the fixture 2-0.
But Birch won the next two games before snatching the deciding point in the tie-break to keep Loughborough Sport’s hopes of victory alive.
And the hosts completed a superb comeback to take the fixture 3-2 and book their place in the Finals Day on May 8.
Birmingham Lions remain in a strong position to finish in the play-off places with 11 points with five available from the final fixture on March 21.
Chapman added: “It was such a big thing for me to win the Nationals that to then pick myself up again was a bit difficult.
“It is a strange feeling trying to push through that mental tiredness because usually it is my legs that go first!”
Elsewhere, Coventry’s Ben Stawski was unable to help Team Derby, the University of Derby’s AJ Bell NBL franchise, to a home victory against previously winless MK Badminton.
Stawski was on court in the mixed doubles alongside Amanda Hogstrom but they lost against Marie Koepke and Anders Kristiansen.
And Stawski, whose teammates eventually lost 3-2 on the night, admitted his lack of match sharpness has caught up with him.
“It’s a tricky one because they’ve both been top ten in the world,” he added. “I know they aren’t probably playing as much as they used to but they have that experience of how to play matches and read the game.
“My fitness is not what it was because I’m not a full time player any more. My brain was my own worst enemy again towards the end of it.”
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