Cathy scoops medal double at Euro event

Cathy Bargh (left) and Kay Vickers with their women's doubles gold medals.
Cathy Bargh (left) and Kay Vickers with their women's doubles gold medals.

Badminton ace Cathy Bargh scooped two medals at the 2016 European Senior Championships, despite playing with a potentially broken toe.

The Sedlescombe-based player won gold in the over-50 women's doubles and bronze in the over-50 women's singles in Podcetrtek, Slovenia, last week.

She said: "Two weeks beforehand I banged my little toe on my right foot on the side of a cardboard box. I thought it would be okay, but it got worse and worse, and I could hardly wear a trainer. It was agony."

Bargh was one of the 3/4 seeds in the singles and scraped past tricky Russian opponent Elena Golubeva 21-12, 19-21, 21-16 in round one on Sunday, last week.

She didn't play again until the Wednesday, and on the Tuesday a doctor confirmed her toe was definitely infected and possibly broken. Bargh was given strong antibiotics and painkillers, which eased the discomfort and got her through the rest of the event.

She outgunned Portuguese player Maria Rodrigues 21-8, 21-8 in round two of the singles, while in the quarter-finals, Bargh came another tough battle, against one of the 5/8 seeds, Isabelle Marie (France), 21-10, 18-21, 21-16.

But her progress was halted by a 17-21, 13-21 loss against second seeded Dutch player Jeannette van der Werff in the semi-finals on Friday.

Van der Werff went on to sustain a calf injury in losing the final against Danish top seed Lone Knudsen, which meant she and her partner Sandra Kroon had to withdraw from the doubles final against Bargh and Kay Vickers on Saturday.

"It's a very sad and sorry situation," said Bargh. "One would never wish it upon anyone. Obviously we would rather have played, but it wasn't going to happen."

Bargh and Vickers - one of the two 3/4 seeds - received a first round bye before overcoming Helle Blomsterberg (Denmark) and Grace Kakiay (Holland) 21-18, 21-13 in round two.

They then defeated German duo Sigrid Bleymehl-Schley and Angelika Lang 21-15, 21-15 in the quarter-finals on Friday, and followed that with a 21-13, 17-21, 21-12 success against Danish pair Lise Lotte Bilgrav and Helle Sjorring in the semi-finals later the same day.

Bargh won singles medals at the European Senior Championships in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and silver in singles and doubles in 2014, but this was her first gold medal at the prestigious continental event.

A professional badminton coach at Freedom Leisure Summerfields in Hastings, Bargh will be back on court in the Sussex Restricted Championships this weekend.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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