There is nothing like a well thought out plan coming off.
In today’s semifinal in Sheffield, the combination of a new approach, with dedicated support staff, high performance training overseas, and a lot of hard work has come full circle.
Sagoy’s 17-21 21-16 21-15 win was her first in nine attempts against the Indonesian.
The pride, belief and satisfaction visible on Helle’s face was there for all to see.
“It’s a big day for me. I have waited for this for a long time and trained very hard to get here. I’m very grateful and happy about my performance and can finally see the results of my work,” Sagoy said.
It was during the dark days of COVID-19 in August 2020 that Sagoy decided to change things up. She moved to the south of Norway to train at a new centre with coach Sophia Waaland in Kristiansand.
Together they built a stable team around her, including strength and mental coaches, as well as a nutritionist.
The training regime sees her practice eight times a week; five morning sessions during weekdays, and three additional sessions in the afternoon.
She just missed a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, and since then has been on an upward curve, winning gold at the BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022 last November.
Oktila was absent on that occasion, still easing herself back into intense competition after the birth of her son. Their most recent meeting was in February 2023 in Spain, with Oktila prevailing 21-14 21-12.
However, with her drought-breaking triumph over Oktila today, Sagoy’s focus is now on the next milestone, and that begins with the final against Japan’s Fujino Haruka tomorrow and earning more vital ranking points for Paris 2024 qualification.
“It’s such a positive experience as I know I can now do it. This was the more difficult of the semifinals and I’m so happy I could finally beat Leani.
“This week is very important as it’s a Level 1 tournament. I didn’t go to Canada and maybe that was a mistake. But now I’m in the final here and I’m so excited for tomorrow,” she said.
Sagoy is fresh off a training trip to Malaysia last month with close friend, Denmark’s Cathrine Rosengren, where both explored tactical advancements to their play, a decision that seems to be paying dividends.
“Cathrine told me about the camp, and I became interested. Back home in Norway, there’s not a lot of badminton training in July, because it’s summer break and people are on vacation.
“It was a tactical camp with coach Jiva at the Asia Badminton Academy, and I feel after three heavy weeks there, it’s now easier for me on court, I’m moving well, and have better endurance.
“After these three games today, I don’t feel tired, and it feels amazing.
“We really enjoyed Malaysia. So much that when we were leaving at the airport we said we would be back soon.”