Gearing Up for Glasgow...

Since my last blog our biggest event was the European Championships in Russia, the Visa process was challenging as I was required to list every country I’d been to in the last ten years! This was not only a huge challenge for my memory but also apparently for the Russian Embassy database as I managed to break it! 

The tournament itself was extremely well run and the city (Kazan) was quite modern having previously hosted the World University Games in 2013. Unfortunately, that was where my positive experience ended as I picked up quite bad food poisoning whilst I was out there which knocked me for six for the next three weeks. This wasn’t the ideal start to my summer training block that I had hoped for but I am back on track now.

The Commonwealth Games qualification period ended and Badminton Wales put their nominations into the committee in early May. Whilst we were hopeful this could be approved quickly the panel wasn’t meeting until early June resulting in a couple of anxious weeks. Even though we had met the criteria required you don’t take these things for granted. 

One of the reasons the panel didn’t have an imminent meeting was the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Wales. Nic and I went to the Ebbw Vale leg as Badminton Wales was part of the street games initiative where children were encouraged to try new sports. It was fantastic to see the numbers there enjoying themselves and hopefully badminton has sparked their interest enough to want to try it again.

Ebbw Vale was just the warm up for my main event as I had been asked to carry the baton as part of the relay in my home town of Llanelli. This was a tremendous honour that I’ll remember forever and it surpassed all my expectations. The sun was shining and the turnout was fantastic with around three thousand people in Llanelli alone. It was great to be able to share my experience with family and friends. An evening celebration in Carmarthen followed and it was interesting to chat to the other Baton Bearers from all walks of life which included current & former athletes, baton bearers from previous games and celebrities.

Last week my selection for Glasgow as part of a six strong badminton team was officially announced. Congratulations to all the team on selection, in particular, the youngsters and Nic who have qualified for the first time. It’s difficult to articulate the pride you feel in this achievement after the amount of hard work that goes into it and to represent Wales at a massive multi-sport event is really the pinnacle of your career. I’m fortunate that this is my third games and am looking forward to experiencing a near ‘home games’ following the different atmospheres of Melbourne and Delhi. 

From here on it’s all about preparing as best as we can for the Games. At the moment there is a lot of physical training looking to build up fitness and endurance before adjusting training over the coming weeks so we are as sharp as possible for the matches ahead. There aren’t many warm up tournaments available to us prior to the Games but we have some foreign players coming over to provide sparring and different competition.  I am lucky that my employer is very understanding and has given me the flexibility to not only compete in Glasgow but step up training beforehand. 

The rest of my time has been consumed by wedding preparations. Whilst I say consumed, my fiancée may raise an eyebrow as really I’ve just picked my suit and rings although I am proud of this achievement! That’s it for now but I’ll update you on how preparations are going nearer the Games.