My journey so far...
My thoughts currently are concentrating on upcoming tournaments and getting the best possible results at these tournaments. It would be amazing to qualify for the Commonwealth games, would be a massive experience to have, representing Wales in such a big event. The youth commonwealth games were a great experience mixing with other athletes from different sports socialising and watching them compete in their events. So to get to the proper Commonwealth games in Glasgow would be amazing. The atmosphere at such an event would be electric and would be a proud moment representing Wales. I love playing in the big events especially team events because you always have the team supporting you, it feels like you’re playing for them as well as yourself so it always seems to bring the best out of me. If I qualify for the Commonwealths it would feel like all the hard work training and going away to tournaments is paying off.
I started playing at my local club in Flint when I was about 6 or 7 years old. This was because my dad used to play for a local team and my brother was playing at this club so I joined in. After a year or 2 I started getting private coaching, this is when I knew badminton was the sport for me. I then started up playing in tournaments In Wales like the satellite and shuttle events. My first England tournament was York u12 and I won it beating an England player in the final. The first time I represented Wales was u13 Celtic challenge. Through the junior years I won 2 quadrangular events in doubles and won the UK school games. I got my first senior cap playing in the European mixed team championships in Amsterdam in 2011. This was a great experience because I had to play top singles against Sweden and Russia. Even though I lost the games it showed me how hard you have to train and how committed you have to be if you want to succeed in badminton. Currently I am training full time in Manchester and in Cardiff where the national squad is held. It’s a good mixture of singles and doubles so I am getting the best of both worlds. I feel it’s good to have a variety of training with different coaches just so you can get different opinions. I am also currently sponsored by Yonex. I am lucky because I have always had the backing from my parents as well as Badminton Wales and without them I wouldn’t be where I was today, so every time I get a good result or do well I feel it’s not just for me but for them as well.
This season I won the triple at the senior nationals and have increased my ranking over 100 places to top 150 now in men’s singles. I also represented Wales at the Thomas cup in Switzerland which was a great privilege. Some of my goals for the future are to be beating people who are ranked in the top 100. I have had some good results this season and I am looking forward to building on the progress I have already made so hopefully by the end of next season I will be ranked in the top 100. In doubles my partner snapped his arm while we were out in China for the world championships. So our ranking has dropped but now he’s back we are fully focused on getting our rank to where it was and getting good results in tournaments.
With playing for Wales comes a certain responsibility and one of them is to promote the sport as well as show kids what they could do if they took up badminton. So my doubles partner and I were at a local high school in Cardiff last month promoting badminton .We did a demonstration as well as interacting with the kids. It’s always great fun and the kids enjoy it too. It’s always a great privilege as you have kids looking up to what you can do which is an amazing feeling.
Coming up I have the Croatian international challenge and the European championships which are being held in Russia. I am looking forward to these tournaments as the Croatian international I have a good chance of doing well and the Europeans are always a great experience and it’s always good to get the chance to play in these major events against the top players in Europe. Then I have only a few more tournaments left which are in Spain and Slovenia which are always good tournaments to do before the end of the season. It is always a nice feeling when the season has ended because you can reflect on what you did and areas you need to improve. Summer training is always hard but I enjoy it because it gets you focused on improving and then I can’t wait for the next season to start. Hopefully if I am selected for the Commonwealth games I would have reached my peak performance for the event.