Thomas Ley


English National U13 bronze medal for mixed doubles, Sept 2016
International U13 bronze medal for singles, Dec 2016
International U13 silver medal for mens doubles, Dec 2016

How did you get in to your sport? How were you introduced?

I played with my parents on a trip to Centre Parcs when I was 6 and really enjoyed it. I had tried tennis but found badminton more fun and a faster sport. I discovered the Badminton Centre at Westgate which was close to my home and joined a beginner’s session.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your sport? How did you overcome it?

My first big challenge was an overseas trip to Finland, travelling as the youngest member of Team Westgate and without my parents for 5 days.  We stayed in a hotel with other players in the room with me and had to learn how to look after myself, with food and sleep!

More recently, I got an injury with my heel and so have had to concentrate on rehabilitation and ensure I stretch and do specific exercises to help prevent it again.  This is quite challenging to remember around all my school work and other activities.

What is your favourite sporting moment, either as a participant of spectator and why?

As a player, getting to the national finals day was amazing as it wasn’t expected and I had just started in a new partnership, so it was really exciting.

I have been lucky enough to watch lots of different sports at the highest level and have thoroughly enjoyed beach volleyball, Paralympic cycling, wheelchair basketball at the London Olympics and also England rugby, Chelsea FC and the All England Badminton Championships.

What are your top tips for aspiring athletes?

Always have an achievable goal but always ensure you have fun and enjoy it.  Make friendships through your sport even if you have to compete against them too!

Who is your sporting hero and why do they inspire you?

Jonny Wilkinson – really enjoyed watching Building Jerusalem documentary and finding out about how he grew up and how dedicated he was..

How has the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme helped you with your sport?

Immediately after I joined I unexpectedly had to use some of the physio sessions at Southampton University and they were crucial but also really interesting as the Sports Scientist also did some tests and explained about my Peak Growth Velocity.

Also I have been able to access the local gym and also get some free use of badminton courts which saves quite a lot of money!

Which 3 words best describe you?

Team player, Happy, Motivated.

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