FOUR Milton Keynes-based badminton players will represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, and their success is starting to have a positive effect on the city’s own junior club.
Imogen Bankier, Chris Adcock, Susan Egelstaff and Rajiv Ouseph are going to wear the red, white and blue of Team GB at Wembley Arena from July 28 – about the same time that the Milton Keynes Junior Badminton Club is set to start benefiting from a new sponsorship deal with the National Badminton Centre in Loughton.
Three young coaches at the Shenley Leisure Centre club are being backed to take level one courses this year – the first step on the badminton ladder for coaches aspiring to one day teach the best players in the country.
James Potter, Ellie Wright and Megan Rigby, all 16, are also being supported by the Bucks County Badminton Association in their bid to become level one qualified, allowing them to coach their younger counterparts at the club.
The Milton Keynes Junior Badminton Club is celebrating its 20th year in 2012, and president David Lill said the deal with the National Centre was a great birthday present.
“It’s a great feeling when the club puts so much importance in the training of their members to enhance the future of the club and local junior badminton,” he said,
“Indeed we have members returning after university and continuing coaching at the club, while working for their level two awards in the near future.
“This certainly makes 2012 a happy year for us. We’re 20-years-old since Geoffrey Snowdon, the former chief executive, got things going at Shenley.”
The club has 50 members aged from eight to 18, and some of them recently visited the National Centre to watch some of the country’s leading players train, and were inspired to improve their own games as a result. And that extra encouragement may well shine through at the club’s annual tournament coming up next weekend.
David added: “They were surprised how tough their coaching programme was. We’re sure it has resulted in many members working even harder as a result of what they witnessed on court.
“Afterwards they were kindly shown around the Badminton Museum arranged by Mark Burbidge, the centre manager.
“Everyone at the club would like to wish our Olympic team every success in the Games. And a special mention must go to Imogen Bankier who has coached our juniors in the past. We hope to see her again one day.”
The Olympic badminton tournament runs from July 28 to August 5, with Bankier and Chris Adcock competing in the mixed doubles event, Rajiv Ouseph in the men’s singles and Susan Egelstaff in the women’s singles.