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Double bronze medallist Sam Magee almost stayed home

By Dave Hooper

Published 29/06/2015

Family affair: Sam and Chloe Magee take bronze in Baku
Family affair: Sam and Chloe Magee take bronze in Baku

Double bronze medallist Sam Magee revealed he very nearly didn't travel to the European Games in Baku.

Sam and Chloe Magee lost their mixed doubles semi-final tie with France's Audrey Fontaine and Gaetan Mittelhieser on Saturday morning. The Donegal brother and sister completed the last act of Team Ireland's mixed badminton medals yesterday.

"On the Wednesday before the tournament I got injured," explained Sam. "I went to a physio and she said, 'I think you should pull out and focus on Olympic qualifying'.

"So I went to my manager Tom and he rang Stephen Martin (deputy chef de mission) and said: 'You can pull Sam out'. Luckily, Steve said that I should come out, and they would get the doctor and medical team to see what they can do.

"So I came here with no expectations of playing. But by Monday I was feeling okay to start so I'm happy to get two bronze medals, because in my head I had already pulled out."

After losing the first game of Saturday's semi-final 21-12, the pair fought back after falling behind in the second game to put pressure on the French duo before finally going down 23-21 to the eventual silver medallists.

Sam admitted he let a great chance slip to get back in the game. "The shuttle came up and I knew what I wanted to do, but the racquet didn't do what I wanted.

"That may haunt me for a little while," he added. "Yeah, we had our chances so we can't complain, we didn't take them."

While disappointed on Saturday morning, Chloe Magee looked at the positives having made a surprise first-round exit in the women's singles early last week. "I was extremely disappointed," admitted Chloe. "I played okay at the end, not so well at the start, it was just very weird with the singles.

"It was just one bad game and then that girl (Estonia's Kati Tolmoff) didn't play that well in the rest of the tournament, it's nice to come away with a medal and it was nice to still be in the mix at the end of the tournament.

"It was good to have a second chance, because a lot of people lose in the first round and then they are on a plane home."

Ireland finished 25th on the medals table with two gold, one silver and three bronze.

Sam and Josh Magee received their men's doubles bronze medals on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Great Britain's men won European Games gold in the team fencing foil with a 45-41 win over Olympic champions Italy.

GB lost only three of the nine bouts, with Richard Kruse winning three, alongside team-mates Alex Tofalides and Marcus Mepstead.

There were six swimming medals, among them gold for Duncan Scott on the last day in the pool, but Natalie Powell and Gemma Gibbons missed out in the judo.

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