In a few days, the life of Malta’s National Badminton Champion, Matthew Abela, will change for good, as he will be moving to Denmark to start training at the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence. ​

A few months ago Badminton Europe, which is the European Federation of Badminton​, ​ launched a new initiative called the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence​​: an effort to gather some of Europe’s​ best Badminton ​players with ​potential​​ and provide them ​full-time training in a professional set​up​. A selection process kicked off and Matthew was one of the players who attended two pre-selections camps, in which Badminton Europe and its coaches evaluated each player’s skills and potential. Abela, who turned 18 this year, was one of the 20 players who were chosen to be part of this project. This is a huge step forward for Matthew as he will now be able to train in a high-performance training centre, twice daily, with highly experienced coaches and other top European badminton players.

The Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence will be hosted in ​​Holbaek in Denmark, where Matthew will be moving to start his training at the beginning of September. Coach Jeroen van Dijk will be heading the Centre​​​​, together with the help of his assistant coaches, who will offer the best of their knowledge to develop the future of European Badminton. ​ The main aim of this Centre is very clear and defined: ​”to empower talented players from Member Associations who do not have the capacity to cater sufficiently for their talented players and offer them high quality, sustainable training at a World Class Training setup.  By means of this project, Europe can continue to be on the medal ranks at some of the top world events, like the Olympic Games and World Championships.”

Since Matthew lives and breathes badminton, he was thrilled to learn that he was chosen to be part of this exciting project and he is now looking forward to start his new life in Denmark. “I am very excited and honoured to be part of the Centre of Excellence, where I look forward to train in a professional environment.”, he says about this new change in his life.

“For me, this is an amazing opportunity which will surely help to improve my game since I will be training with top-level players. I will also be under the guidance and supervision of professional coaches ​and the centre itself is professionally equipped with high-tech facilities all under one roof. So, for me this is dream come true!”

This is a gigantic leap forward for Matthew, who is now setting higher goals and will be giving his utmost to continue improving.  In this way, he will be able to take part in more important and prestigious Badminton​ tournaments and he can keep his dreams of qualifying to the World Championships and to the Olympics​ alive​.

​Keeping these goals clear in mind, Matthew states he will not forget where he came from and will be doing his best to be an inspiration to younger Maltese athletes. ​“I am sure that the Centre will be a stepping stone to help me improve and reach my future goals to become a better badminton player and be a role model to the younger players.”​, Abela ​​​insists.​