SEAN Vendy believes he could follow in the footsteps of London 2012 badminton star Chris Adcock – and has challenged him to a match if he returns home with an Olympic medal.
The 16-year-old won the U15 national singles crown this year without dropping a single set, and says that Rio 2016 remains on his horizon after he and doubles partner Ben Lane from Devon became the best rated in Europe for their age group.
Vendy has been watching Adcock – competing at London 2012 with Scottish mixed doubles partner Imogen Bankier – twice a week for as long as he can remember at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes.
And Vendy has backed 23-year-old Adcock to cause an Olympic surprise, believing he could replicate his success at future Olympics – but would like to go head-to-head on the court with him first.
“I have seen Chris train quite a few times and I think he could do well at London 2012,” said Vendy, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB’s Local Heroes programme.
“He has beaten some quality, world-class players recently, so if he has done it once he can do it again. I think he is a medal contender. He definitely has the potential to make the podium.
“Chris is a very good player and it would be great if I could be the next one and follow in his footsteps to make the Olympics.
“There are similarities between us. He is a doubles specialist like me and his positioning around the court is a lot like mine.
“The way we both strike the shuttle is similar as well. He goes after his shots and is a bit of a maverick player with some of his shot selections, like me too.
“We both show that there are different ways of striking the shuttle to everyone else. I have never played him, but if he came back with a medal then we should probably try to arrange a match.”
Vendy and Lane progressed to last year’s U17 European Championship quarter-finals against opponents a year older, and also went through the Europeans Team doubles event undefeated, helping England claim an overall team silver last year.
Such performances enhanced his growing reputation, and although London 2012 came too soon for him, he got his own Olympic experience when carrying the Olympic torch through Bletchley.
“I’m aiming for Rio 2016 but it’s hard to say whether I will make it or not. I’m too sure of my chances at the moment. Realistically the Olympics afterwards in 2020 would be the one for me,” he added.
“I don’t want to say I could achieve my dream yet because I haven’t even competed in world championships yet.
“I have won every title and I’m one of the best in Britain for my age, so I would like to think that one day I would get to the Olympics – that has always been my dream.
“Everyone thinks the potential is there but I have just got to keep working hard. It was brilliant being an Olympic torchbearer. It was the best day of my life so far.
“It was pretty amazing and the support was phenomenal as so many people turned out to watch me and my friends and family were there cheering me on.
“It was like my own taste of London 2012 and it was great being part of the Olympics in a way.”