The 37th edition of the SELL Student Games were hosted last week in Riga, where students from seven international universities competed in 14 sports, including badminton. The SELL Student Games badminton competition took place from May 20 to 22, in Pepsi Center, Riga. Students from Latvia, Lithuania, India, and Sri Lanka, representing seven universities, participated in the competition.
Students from Vytautas Magnus University won all six possible gold medals of the SELL Student Games badminton competition. Lithuanian students from the city of Kaunas won the Badminton 100 relay team tournament and also all five individual gold medals. Povilas Bartušis and Samanta Golubickaite became the absolute champions, winning the single’s and men’s and women’s doubles tournaments respectively, as well as winning together in the mixed doubles tournament.
The 37th SELL Student Games were attended by more than 1200 students, not only from the traditional SELL countries Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, but also from Israel and Slovakia.
The first SELL Student Games took place in 1923 in Tartu, Estonia. Next year, SELL Student Games will celebrate its centenary. In 2023, SELL Student Games will take place in the Estonian city of Tartu, just like 100 years ago.
The 37th SELL Student Games were supposed to take place in Riga in 2021, but they were cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. In 2022, COVID-19 continued to affect the competition process due to uncertainty. This year, the situation in Ukraine has also affected the situation as students from Russia and Belarus, who had previously participated in the SELL student competition in large numbers, could not participate in the competition this time. This year, for obvious reasons, universities from Ukraine did not participate either.
The 37th SELL Student Games program in Rīga included 14 sports – basketball, 3 × 3 basketball, athletics, swimming, chess, judo, powerlifting, floorball, football 7 × 7, table tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, badminton, and orienteering.
For the first time in the SELL student game program, there was also a badminton team tournament in the Badminton 100 relay format with teams playing up to 100 points to win and players changing after the winning team has reached 20, 40, 60, and 80 points. In the relay format, women’s and men’s singles are played in sequence, women’s and men’s doubles, and the relay is concluded with mixed doubles.
The first place in the team tournament was won by the team of Vytautas Magnus University from the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, while the 2nd place was fought fiercely by the teams of Riga Technical University and the University of Latvia. The game was very intense. Until the last relay stage of the mixed doubles, the leading team changed in every set but in the end, the team of Riga Technical University won 100 – 91.
Kristians Rozenvalds, referre of the SELL Student Games Badmithon Tournament in Rīga, believes that the Badminton 100 relay format is very suitable for such forums because a tournament with many teams can be organised in one day.
Kristians Rozenvalds is convinced that international student badminton tournaments are a very important step in the development of badminton because universities see the motivation to organise teams, prepare trainings, hire coaches, and attract the best students.