A para badminton player from Potten End has his sights set on the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo after returning home from the European Championships with a hat-trick of medals.
Martin Rooke, of Hedgeside, won the men’s singles and the mixed doubles with his Swiss partner, adding a silver medal with his Turkish partner in the men’s doubles at the championships in Murcia, Spain.
“My coach set me a goal to win two golds and one silver,” said Martin. “I was extremely happy as I knew if I won the medals I needed to, England would be top of the medal table. In total we won five golds, five silvers and seven bronzes.”
Martin, who won silver at the World Para Badminton Championships in Germany in 2013, is now focussing on Tokyo after the announcement last week by the International Paralympic Committee that para badminton would be on the schedule for 2020.
“I was overjoyed with the news,” said Martin. “As a member of the Badminton World Federation Para Badminton Athletes’ Commission I know how much work has been put in over the past four years.
“All that hard work has paid off massively and the sport is growing all the time.
“At last year’s World Championships in Germany, 287 players entered from 38 countries. With the news of being in the Paralympics, we hope that the sport will continue to grow in size.”o
Martin has been playing in the South West Herts Badminton League for three years – taking on able-bodied players in the men’s fours format of three doubles games per match.
“I’ve integrated very well,” he said. “Last year we came fourth in our league and the opportunity to play against able-bodied players improves my all round game.
“My ambition for the future is to try to make the team for 2020. My coach thinks I have a very good chance of making the team and I will do everything possible to do so.
“That is my one goal for the next five years and nine months.”