After a road trip from Zagreb Airport over the Croatian-Slovenian border I was greeted by the magical scenery of Podcetrtek. Set amongst the hills of Eastern Slovenia was the Spa Resort of Terme Olimia which was the venue of the European Senior Championships 2016. This complex consisted of hotels, villas, numerous pools and spas as well as a multi-purpose arena.
The record-breaking tournament consisted of 1,014 participants which is the largest of any BEC event. Consequently, with this many players the schedule included 1,373 matches to be played on 9 courts in 7 days and umpired by no more than 31 umpires! It was an extremely tough week with 240 matches most days and play starting at 9am and finishing approximately 10/11pm for the majority of the tournament. It was definitely a packed week of badminton with many umpires extremely close to reaching the 100 duty mark.
Despite it being a long tough tournament it was still one of the best I have ever officiated at due to the friendliness of the players and the good nature of the tournament as a whole. Finally, with some free time after the end of the 40 Final Round matches the umpire group crashed out at one of the pools followed by a fantastic meal at a hilltop deer farm restaurant. A great finish to a fantastic tournament!