Year 7 Student Caitlin's Sporting Success!
We are enormously proud of our Year 7 student Caitlin, who has been achieving terrific things in badminton. Here, she tells us about her most recent trip to Glasgow for the International Youth Badminton Tournament.
On a Thursday in May, I flew to Glasgow, Scotland with my team to take part in the International Youth Badminton Tournament. It was held over three days, which included a team event and individual competition. This was my debut international and it is a fantastic next step in my career, having played on the national circuit for a couple of years now. There were competitors from many countries including Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland and a few well known opponents from the English national circuit. With such a great range of players, this was definitely going to be a challenging tournament.
The first day was mainly spent travelling, although it also included a 2 hour training session to practice with partners and become familiar with the shuttles and surroundings, and of course to meet the teams from other countries before the real competition began the following morning. This was a great opportunity for me to see for the first time what I was up against.
I spent my time in Glasgow staying in a room with two of my teammates who are also some of my best friends. This added another element to the trip - responsibility. After being locked out of our room three times due to losing our keycards, we at last got the hang of staying by ourselves!
The first day of the competition was the team tournament and it was an early start for everyone. Our first opponents were from Ireland at we took home a comfortable win with a score line of 4-1. I was very happy to contribute to that by winning my mixed doubles match. Next, we played a very respectable French team; we had a great start, winning both singles. The day than took a turn for the worse though, when we lost both doubles games. This made the score 2-2 and it all came down to my match. Eventually I scraped a close win, with a fantastic performance overall, causing us to beat France 3-2. We then went on to play a well-known English team in the semi-final and won 4-1.
At last we got to the final and learned that we were up against the favourites. This was a tough match and I took a hard loss in my game to start the match off. In the end we pulled through as a team but it just wasn’t enough and we ended up losing 4-1. I still completed the first day smiling with my first international silver medal hanging round my neck!
On the second day it was individuals. I played well in my singles, eventually winning my box by beating both a Welsh and a Dutch player. This was an incredible outcome for me and I was so happy. In the next round I came up against a very tough English opponent. Although I performed well and played a hard, solid game, I ended up losing. This was tough for me to take, but also a very good learning experience (in retrospect!)
I then went on to play the level doubles. We had a great start and won our box quite comfortably. In the Quarter Finals we had to play a French pair. We took the game to three sets and narrowly missed out in setting. Next I played mixed doubles and made it to the quarter finals, but we just didn’t play to a high enough standard and we lost.
Overall the experience was absolutely incredible and it helped me to gain lots of confidence. I learned so much and it really helped me believe that I can be responsible and that I can believe in myself.
Editor's Note: Well done, Caitlin - we are all incredibly proud of you and think you've done an amazing job. Reading your account of your trip, it's clear to see how much effort you put in - nailbiting stuff! We look forward to hearing about your continued progress in the world of badminton!