MILTON Keynes badminton ace Sean Vendy was lost for words after stealing the show and capturing three gold medals at last weekend’s Sainsbury UK School Games.
The 15-year-old represented England in Sheffield amongst 1,600 children across a record 12 sports in the pinnacle event of British school sports.
Vendy, who was going head-to-head against children from a higher age-group, defied the odds to reach the singles final and then clinched the gold after three sets against Scotland’s Josh Neil, but he was far from finished there.
The Walton High School student was left in disbelief at the English Institute of Sport after finishing the perfect weekend by partnering Ben Lane to boy’s doubles victory in straight sets, and then Brodie Miller to mixed doubles glory after a final set thriller.
“I’m pretty speechless to be honest with you,” said Vendy – who completed the epic haul on Sunday after playing all three finals within five hours of each other.
“I came up here not expecting anything really, especially being a year younger than most other players. I just wanted to play well and do the best that I could and see what happens, I didn’t expect three golds at all.
“I think this competition is amazing with all the courts and umpires, they do such a good job here in Sheffield.”
Vendy, who benefits from the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative, has been victorious in every age-group National Championships tournament since first competing at U11 level.
And if The Academy badminton club star can continue with his junior gold rush and turn professional, he thinks this experience will leave him well prepared for bigger and better things.
“The atmosphere was great and it gives you a real insight into what it would be like further up the game in this county,” he said. “I really want to be a professional badminton player and win events like these gives me a lot of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Oakgrove School pupil Gabby Down was delighted to write her name into the history books by becoming the first ever wheelchair fencing gold medal winner.
The 13-year-old from Milton Keynes was top of the foil classification qualifying table before defeating Piers Gilliver 15-2 in the final to leave herself stunned at the thought of returning to her club with the gold.
“I’m really happy,” said Down. “It means loads to be the first winner of the wheelchair fencing, no one else can do it now.
“I was just hoping to do the best that I could and go through as many rounds as I could, I wasn’t expecting to win the gold.”
>> To find out more about this year’s Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Sheffield, log on to the competition website at www.ukschoolgames.com