Badminton Life

Irish Badminton Stars Wait on Olympic Verdict

When attention turns to the Olympic Games, it is inevitable that most of the focus falls on the athletes who have the best chance of winning the medals.

Sporting achievement primarily is all about the victors and the triumphs so there is little complaint about this sort of reaction being given. The beauty about the Olympics though is that it is meant to be about sport in general.

The achievements of small nations managing to have athletes qualifying and achieving their best ever finish. Even if they do not return with a medal, even reaching the pinnacle of their sport can provide a sporting star with enough cherished memories to last a life-time.

This is why there are so many athletes around the world sitting waiting for the confirmation that they are off to Beijing. Badminton may not be the most watched sport at this summer's event and the Irish team may not be household names, even in their own country, but the tension must be unbearable for the players.

With the qualification process for the Games starting a year ago, Ireland had four candidates who were looking to make this year's huge event. It's not been an easy year for any one of them but anything worth achieving is never going to be handed on a plate.

Scott Evans was the representative for the Men's Singles and was the only male the Irish badminton team was looking to put through. Chloe Magee, numerically at least, had the best chance of making the games as she was pushing for qualification in two events.

In the ladies singles category, Magee was joined by Ruth Kilkenny in the challenge and in the Ladies Doubles event, Magee was paired up with Huang Bing in the race for points. Each little victory over the year has been celebrated with the hope that it may inch them a little bit closer to the main event and it has been a gruelling time for all the players involved.

That said, the players have managed to fit in a lot of travelling in the past year. Unfortunately for them there wasn't much sight-seeing involved but rather the chance to pit their wits against other stars fighting for the right to play in Beijing.

Countries where the Irish stars played in this past year include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and the USA. Even when disappointment hits home for some of the players, they will be able to look back on the past twelve months and have a lot of good times and great memories to console themselves when they are free this summer.

And sadly there will be disappointment for some of the athletes as the Badminton Ireland association are only able to hope for two invitations. This means there will be four extremely nervous players over the next few weeks that are waiting for confirmation of their dreams or the crushing blow that they won't be at the Olympics.

At times like this it is easy to feel that it is better to make it to the Olympics and fail than to never get there in the first place.

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