Forward of the Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham, we’re looking on the Workforce England debutants hoping to shine on the badminton court docket on the NEC.
First up is Freya Patel-Redfearn.
You may be arduous pressed to search out one other athlete extra enthusiastic about becoming a member of Workforce England than Freya Patel-Redfearn.
After solely making her BWF Tour debut final yr, the 2022 Commonwealth Video games will cap off a whirlwind 18 months for the Londoner.
She is going to compete for England each within the girls’s singles and workforce occasion, and though it’s her first multi-sport occasion, the importance will not be misplaced on her.
The steely shuttler has an actual dedication to make her nation proud in Birmingham.
“Not everybody will get to do that, even some actually gifted gamers,” she stated.
“So while you get the chance it feels further particular. When you’re competing frequently, enjoying for England in a multi-sport occasion is one thing you all the time need to attempt for.
“For the previous couple of years, understanding that the Video games have been going to be held in Birmingham and that I may probably be within the workforce, it was a extremely thrilling aim for me to have.
“It has spurred me on during the last couple of years for positive.
“I am simply so proud to get chosen by the workforce and may’t wait to get going.”
At 21, Patel-Redfearn is the youngest of the nine-person badminton squad who shall be donning the Workforce England purple this summer season.
She was coaching on the Nationwide Badminton Heart in Milton Keynes when she came upon the information, and though she solely needed to wait a couple of days for the announcement to go public, it was nonetheless tough to maintain it secret.
“I instructed some shut family and friends but it surely was good to share it with everybody,” she defined.
“My dad and mom have been very excited and my brothers, who’ve all been actually supportive all through this journey with me.”
She could be the child of the workforce, however Patel-Redfearn does have main championship expertise from the 2021 Europeans in Kyiv the place she made it by way of to the third spherical and gave third seed Yvonne Li an enormous scare earlier than finally exiting.
Nevertheless, taking to court docket in Birmingham in entrance of a house crowd shall be in contrast to something she has beforehand skilled.
Fortunately, with a pleasant mix of youth and expertise throughout the English shuttlers, she is aware of her squad mates are there for assist and recommendation when required.
“We have a whole lot of expertise within the workforce as effectively that I can be taught from,” she added.
“It is good to have that. Just a few of the senior gamers have instructed me simply to get pleasure from it and that I’ve acquired nothing to lose so take advantage of the expertise.
“It’s going to be such an incredible environment so I actually need to take that each one in.
“I’ve acquired some prolonged household heading over there for a couple of days so I need to be certain I spot them within the crowd.”
Patel-Redfearn may also be going into the Video games with actual confidence on the again of a breakthrough yr that noticed the West Londoner take some massive steps within the senior ranks.
Now she needs to grow to be referred to as a serious occasion participant after producing a few of her strongest badminton on the European Championships final yr.
Though she is aware of the blended workforce occasion shall be difficult with England drawn in the identical group as Singapore, Patel-Redfearn is eager to contribute because the workforce appears to enhance on the bronze gained within the Gold Coast 4 years in the past.
She added: “The Europeans (in 2021) was an enormous second for me and I have been a part of some workforce occasions for England which I believe shall be a extremely essential expertise forward of Birmingham.
“Within the European blended workforce I’ve had a few of my finest performances, so hopefully that continues this summer season. That’s one thing I’m desirous to take into the Commonwealths.
“I do know Singapore shall be robust, however I am undoubtedly aiming to supply a few of my finest performances and imagine I can contribute with wins.
“Reaching the semi-final in Wales (on the Welsh Worldwide) final yr was one other massive second, I took a whole lot of confidence from that.”
That was the second the teenager actually confirmed her potential on the worldwide stage, knocking out third seed Yaëlle Hoyaux of France on her strategy to the final 4.
Welcome to the workforce!
— Workforce England (@TeamEngland) April 20, 2022
If she will be able to repeat that degree of efficiency going ahead, nothing must be off the desk
A dominant drive at youth degree, the level-headed shuttler knew time was wanted to adapt to the senior degree.
However Patel-Redfearn believes she is attending to grips with the adjustment.
“I believe the primary few years of your senior profession, are all the time a problem,” she added. “And I am nonetheless in that interval.
“You are enjoying harder matches towards harder, extra skilled opponents and also you merely will not be profitable as usually or enjoying as frequently.
“That may be robust and takes some getting used to. However I simply wanted to maintain considering of the larger image.
“Having a aim just like the Commonwealth Video games has actually spurred me on, you have simply acquired to be sturdy.”