University of Bath student Panuga Riou is the youngest member of the England women’s team picked to contest badminton’s European Team Championships, it was announced today (Wednesday).
The 19-year-old is one of four uncapped players in the England women’s team for the championships, which take place in Amsterdam from 14 to 19 February.
Panuga is currently studying for a Coach Education and Sports Development degree at the University of Bath and receives a Jeff Trendell Scholarship, which helps student athletes develop their sporting aspirations alongside their academic studies.
She is coached by Peter Bush, the University of Bath’s head badminton coach.
“This will be my first cap, so I’m very, very excited. It came as a real surprise,” she said. “Winning a cap was one of my goals for this season, but I didn’t think I’d do it this early.”
Peter Bush said: “I’m delighted for Panuga and it’s great for the Badminton England High Performance Centre at the University of Bath.
“Panuga’s recent results have shown significant improvements and this is a great stepping stone for her future success.”
Panuga returns to action at the England Nationals at Bolton this weekend, where she is seeded four in the women’s singles.
She joins two University of Bath alumni – Mariana Agathangelou and Heather Olver in the team. Both Mariana and Heather Olver are Coach Education and Sports Development graduates and were also coached by Bush at Bath.
England’s women are the seeds in group six at the championships and face Scotland, Italy and Switzerland, If England can top their group they are likely to face a quarter-final against the Dutch. The championships are the qualifiers for the Uber Cup, the women’s world team championships.
Another University of Bath graduate, Carl Baxter, plays in the men’s team at the men’s team at the championships, which take places alongside the women’s competition. That is a qualifier for the Thomas Cup, the men’s world team championships.
The University of Bath is The Sunday Times University of the Year 2011/12.