European University Games 2022

30th August 2022

Congratulations to Atithya Maheshwari 2nd year, St Hilda’s College, P&P for competing at Badminton in this years European Games in Łódź, Poland. Teams mates were Ian Ho (Wadham), Lucien Mulberg (SPC), Anuj Doshi (Exeter), James Lin, Captain (St Anne’s).

The College is proud of the various skills and competences of its undergraduates. 2nd year Physics and Philosophy student, Atithya Maheshwari, competed during the summer holidays for Oxford University in the men’s badminton competition at the European University Games in Łódź, Poland. These Games host the best European university teams for a plethora of different sports and are a highlight for student athletes. They offer a wonderful experience of a major sporting games, from which much enjoyment and many life lessons can be derived! 

The Oxford University badminton team qualified through finishing in the top two of their half of the national badminton league for universities. Atithya has been playing badminton for 7+ years, starting initially at the age of 10 when he lived in India. After moving to the UK in year 8, Atithya started to take badminton more seriously, playing up to 6 times a week and eventually being selected for the County 1st team. He worked hard as a junior, competing in many tournaments and now has progressed into the Oxford University 1st team.

He reports that the experience was incredible for him and his team mates: “we were there for a week, with 2 days for acclimatisation, 3 days for the team event, and 2 days for the individual event. The quality of badminton at the tournament was incredibly high, as was the quality of the tournament organisation. I have never played at such a venue before, the courts had professional mats, and there were dedicated umpires, service judges, and line judges for each court. Unfortunately, Oxford fell a bit short during the matches; all of our players were knocked out before the quarterfinals, and to some truly difficult competition, some even to the eventual medal winners.”

The value of competing in high level sport came across, as he shared with us: “an important lesson I learned from this experience was the value of mental strength whilst performing. It can be trivially said that having good skills, tactics, and fitness is crucial to being a good badminton player but something that is often overlooked is the importance of having the correct mindset. It is so easy to get caught up in nerves, as I have experienced many times myself. This causes impatience on court and the inevitable unforced errors and frustration, which is a vicious cycle. It is an important skill to be able to hone one's focus

and deliver one's best in an important moment, whilst not worrying about the results. I learned that my mentality on court is currently not good enough and something I should strive to develop in the future.”

All in all, Atithya enjoyed himself: “overall, however, it was a very fun and insightful experience. When we weren't training or competing, we were socialising and meeting athletes from different countries, which was a breath of fresh air as we could find out more about different cultures and meet different people. It was an experience I will never forget.

I thank St Hilda’s a lot for their support, both financial and moral, which has gone a long way in making this opportunity accessible to me. I am also very grateful to Oxford Uni Sports Fed for all their help and support throughout.