A group of eight talented youngsters beat off competition from 13 other football clubs to win the first ever Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) National Badminton Championships in Milton Keynes last week.

The win maintains Arsenal’s sparkling recent form which has seen the Club’s other PL4S teams enjoy success in both table tennis and volleyball, two of the other flagship sports covered by the PL4S initiative.

After successfully overcoming two difficult group matches, the boys’ group of Sharif Shamsudeen, Billy May, Ben Bristow-Harris and Sam Matthias-Stanley saw off pre-tournament favourites Aston Villa to reach the final, where they faced Hull City. Despite an even game, the Gunners’ pairings came through to clinch the title at the first time of asking.

Sam Matthias Stanley, member of the victorious boys’ team, said: “It is brilliant to win the National Finals today. It was really good to represent the team you support and play against the other teams, like in football. The courts were really good and I think we played really well, especially in the important semi-final where we showed a lot of character.” 

In the other half of the tournament, the girls’ team made up of Jaina Shah, Shaina Shah, Billie Sophoclides and Georgina Griffiths-Davis, also did the Club proud, narrowly missing out on a place in the final to the Liverpool FC Foundation after a strong win over Stoke City. Star of the show was undoubtedly Shaina who won three of her four games against competitors aged up to six years older than her.

The department’s success in the competition is testament to the outstanding work of the Black Arrows Badminton Club in Hackney, which has coached the teams throughout the last two years and also supported them on the day.

Earlier this year, PL4S was awarded an additional £2 million through the Premier League Creating Chances programme in partnership with the Department of Culture Media and Sport. This investment will see the addition of four new Olympic sports to the existing programme; basketball, handball, hockey and netball, and enable the scheme to extend its target for sports participation amongst young people.

For more information on Premier League 4 Sport Badminton, please contact Ross McKinley on 020 7704 4147 or e-mail rmckinley@arsenal.co.uk.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Feb 2012