My Journey to Glasgow 2014 So Far.

I began playing badminton when I was 7 years old after a friend of my mother's suggested I try it. I joined Penarth Juniors and thoroughly enjoyed playing badminton from the word go. At 12/13 I was in the county set up - something which was of enormous help in pushing me forward - and also was scouted to be part of what was then called Young Dragons; a development group geared toward improving players so that they could compete for Wales.

I got in to the Welsh Squad at U15's and began to have private coaching with Indonesian International, Irwansyah. I improved a great deal under his guidance and began playing on the Welsh and English Circuit. At U17's I was winning tournaments in Wales and England, won National Titles and also came 2nd in the Home Nations Quadrangular Tournament. Unfortunately I then became ill with Chronic Fatigue for 18months and just as I was getting back to full health developed a nasty knee injury which had me out for another year. This really set me back and meant I had to play catch up in order to even think about competing at senior level! It took quite some time before I was ready to compete again, especially as you have to step up a gear when making the difficult transition from Junior to Senior player.

 In 2009 I set my sights on going to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010. I have to say going to Delhi was one of the best experiences of my life and of huge benefit to my sporting career. After Delhi, Sarah Thomas and I decided to play together. It started on a very high note with us winning our first competition, an English Circuit tournament. We then went on to get a Semi Final in our first International tournament together in Slovenia and a Quarter Final in Spain. We trained hard over the summer to push forward come September. After a year of playing together talks of Glasgow 2014 arose; as a result Sarah decided to sacrifice her singles career in order to focus fully on doubles and mixed. I have continued with the Singles however my training mainly revolves around Doubles. This decision caused us to come 2nd in our first tournament back in season, another great start! The rest of 2012 and beginning of 2013 was going very well and saw us achieving results, such as winning Cyprus International, that took us up to 54 in the world...then the positive run came to a quick stop. Unfortunately an old injury re-occurred and I was unable to play for 4months. This hit both Sarah and I extremely hard. While she was able to continue playing and training on court she was partner-less, while I was desperately trying to get to a state of being able to train again. After having extensive physio from Nicola Phillips and Hannah Williams and a steroid injection in my neck I was able to begin light hitting and build from there. Although I'd been working on my fitness and strength while injured being on court is quite different and the first couple of weeks back proved a big strain. Ideally I would've trained for 10-12weeks before competing to make sure I was match fit but in a qualifying year we couldn't wait. 6-7 weeks later we were competing again and had quite a few poor results to start us off. We went from being 54 in the world to about 146...a huge drop which did nothing for our confidence! The longer 2013 went on the worse it seemed to get. A couple of wins in December a weight lifted with us being able to take some confidence from the results. We had managed to scrape back to 96 in the world, however we were still nowhere near where we needed to be and Christmas was spent hitting the training hard only having Christmas, Boxing  and New Years Day off.

2014 saw us doing much better. We started with a tight Semi Final loss in Estonia, followed by a win in Iceland later that month! February saw us both regain our titles at the National Championships and some solid performances at the Women’s European Team Championships, especially against England. These performances took us to 71 in the World Rankings, but we pushed even harder in March and won the Portuguese International and got another Semi Final in the Polish Open. These results saw us go to a career high of 52 in the world! We’re aiming to remain in the top60 for the qualifying date, May 15th, and a Quarter Final in Finland this month has seen us stay within the top55. We finish our season and qualifying campaign with the European Championships in Russia. A big tournament where we will hopefully get another good result and finish on a high to secure our place in Team Wales for Glasgow 2014.

I think it's fair to say that it's been a roller coaster of a ride. 2013 was dreadful and had us both at all time lows debating our careers and whether we bother continuing to try to qualify. However we stayed together as partners and supported each other as friends – something that is key in any partnership!

And it worked, 2014 has seen us playing some of the best badminton we ever have! It's funny how things can change so quickly and what a difference even a few months can make! I guess if you want something bad enough you just have to keep trying and striving for it, no matter what obstacles come in your way. Being knocked down and getting back up is just part of being an athlete!

Hopefully we are selected for Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, we're certainly ready for it!