Lasse Bundgaard and his assistant coach Ricky Yu presented alongside Andy Wood, Performance Manager of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport and former Team GB badminton head coach, to discuss the technicalities of the sport and to take questions at a sporting breakfast event.
The Australian national team arrived in Derby on Tuesday, July 15, for a training camp ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Lasse, 40, explained: “The day was about how things have changed in Australian badminton over the last five years and where we are now, as we go into the Commonwealth Games with a team that is desperately trying to compete with the top nations, and also about where we go from here to develop badminton in Australia to be a world-class sport.
“We are here in Derby for the second time after coming here ahead of the London Olympics in 2012. We have good relationships with the partners involved in Derbyshire, including Derbyshire County Council, South Derbyshire District Council, Derbyshire Sport and the University of Derby, which were all developed through our link with Andy Wood. Working with him is a great thing for us.”
The visit was particularly important for the University since it is gearing up for its first season in the new National Badminton League (NBL) with its Team Derby brand. Lasse was full of praise for the creation of the league, which will show games on Sky Sports.
He said: “It’s a great thing that a national badminton league has been established, which will include the best British players but also support the best British junior players as well. It’s a really good profile-raiser for the sport.”
On Saturday, Lasse’s Australian team were victorious in an exhibition match against the Team GB All Stars, in which they won 5-3 from eight games played. Olympic silver medallists Gail Emms MBE and Nathan Robertson, and Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallist Jenny Wallwork were part of the British contingent. Lasse is confident of Australia’s chances at the Games.
He added: “I feel good ahead of the Commonwealth Games and we are targeting a medal in a few categories.
“The men and women’s doubles look good and very strong. We’re taking stock after the draw (being made today, Monday, July 21) and now go into the first game on Thursday (July 24). I look forward very much to getting it all started.”
Ollie Shearer, Sport Development Manager at the University of Derby, added: “The University was delighted to welcome back the Australian team. It’s an exciting time for the sport of badminton at the University given the recent announcement that we will be part of the UK’s first National Badminton League.
“The Australian team had access to all the services and facilities they need to prepare for the Commonwealth Games and enjoyed their stay at the University.”