Pontefract’s young badminton players showing great potential

Pontefract's junior players (left to right) Erin Milner, Alex Limbert, Amelie Limbert,  Sumedh Chittamuru, Asish Chittamuru, Isabelle Tinker, Lloyd Ross and Annie Ross with Pontefract Badminton Centre head coach Gill Topliss.
Pontefract's junior players (left to right) Erin Milner, Alex Limbert, Amelie Limbert, Sumedh Chittamuru, Asish Chittamuru, Isabelle Tinker, Lloyd Ross and Annie Ross with Pontefract Badminton Centre head coach Gill Topliss.

Young players at Pontefract Badminton Centre are making a name for themselves.

The talented youngsters, under the guidance of head coach Gill Topliss, have come on leaps and bounds since the centre, based at Pontefract Squash Club on Stuart Road, opened just over 12 months ago.

Pontefract’s eight players - four boys and four girls - pulled off surprise victories against teams from Sheffield and Leeds in the first round of the newly-formed Ridings Junior League which is a structure designed to talent spot children to represent Yorkshire.

“The wins against Sheffield and Leeds were unexpected. Last January some of those children had probably never played badminton before and 12 months down the line they are playing exceptionally well,” said coach Gill who herself represented Yorkshire at the age of 12 and went on to become an England junior international at under 18 level.

As a top sportswoman, she followed in the footsteps of her late brother David Topliss, the legendary rugby league player and coach.

Pontefract’s team, aged 10 to 12, beat Sheffield on a tiebreak after they had finished level at 5-5 in a match at Garforth Badminton Centre.

Mixed doubles pair and Asish Chittamuru and Amelia Limbert won a thrilling tiebreak 11-10.

Two Pontefract players – brothers Sumedh and Asish Chittamuru – had earlier both defeated Sheffield opponents who have already played for Yorkshire.