The IOW junior badminton squad completed a 24 hour ‘badmintonathon’ recent;y. Starting at 12 noon Saturday 13th and finishing 12 noon Sunday 14th.
13 squad members took part supported by friends, family, league and senior county players and coaches.
I instructed the youngsters to take it easy as 24 hours was a long time to just stay awake without exerting high levels of energy. Obviously this instruction was completely ignored by juniors and seniors alike and every game from the first to the last was played in a competitive and determined to win manner. Despite this there was a permanent queue of players eager to get on court, even in the early hours of Sunday morning when some of the older participants, no names mentioned, were subject, not just to fatigue but also ever increasing levels of pain, the court was never empty and determination and enthusiasm never waned.
Some players and family members had to leave at various times due to previous arrangements but most were able to come back and continue their participation. Some players had to take the occasional cat nap, but they too came back with renewed energy.
Perhaps the most committed of these players was Cleet Holmberg (coach and league player) who, in the middle of a game at about 5am, blinked while waiting to receive a serve, couldn’t open his eyes and only woke up as he began to fall to the floor. Despite this small lapse in concentration, he just shook his head and carried on, what a hero! He also tells us that he went for 10 hours without defeat! However, as no one else was counting we only have his word for that and, of course, the average age of his opponents was about 12 or 13! Even so, given his age and general condition, still quite impressive.
Special thanks go to Tony Isaacs (IOWBA chairman, Freshwater coach and over 70’s county player) for staying the distance in support of the kids. As always, he was keen to pass his knowledge and experience on to the juniors, although Kayliegh Cope(16) and Ryan Whitewood(16) (team member) seemed a little reluctant to participate in Tony’s impromptu “drills” session at 4.30 in the morning. I wonder why?
Tina Scott-Roberts was there for the whole 24 hours in support of her son Aaron. She also undertook the role of matriarch, chaperone, and personal stylist to Kayliegh and Sofie Green(16) (team captain). Well done girls, it’s important to always keep up appearances. Tina also got promoted to chief tea maker as well as taking her turn on court despite never playing badminton before.
Harry Rann(17) (team member and league player) arrived mid Saturday afternoon after finishing 5th in a 150 competitor cross country race. He then played through the night before leaving to catch a ferry to a full day’s work in the theatre on the mainland. Great energy and commitment Harry!
My performance of the weekend award has to go Ryan Whitewood. On several occasions he looked out on his feet. On each occasion he managed to shake himself back into action without taking a rest. He was ever present on court and always reluctant to come off court so that others could take their turn. Well done Ryan, great determination!
Aaron Scott-Roberts (13) (team member and Hampshire U15 County squad player) and Jack Hobbins (13) (team member and Hampshire U15 County squad player) both completed the full 24 hours with only a short break in the early hours and as you would expect from these 2 talented and committed players, they put in maximum effort in every game, never thinking that they needed to save some energy for later.
Sofie Green and her sister Lily (12) (team member) were first to arrive with their mum Mel. Sofie left around tea time to go to a friend’s party. She came back with Kayliegh at around 10.30pm and they both stayed and played to the end. Lily came back with mum and dad, Richard (league player) early Sunday morning and stayed with her sister until noon.
Leo Popov (14) (team member) went on a family holiday Saturday evening but he and his dad, Nik put in a valuable few hours prior to their departure.
Younger players who took part on both Saturday and Sunday but, for a variety of reasons, weren’t able to stay overnight were, Sam Gray (10) (team member) and younger brothers George (7) and Charlie (5). While he was there Charlie demonstrated a determination that many adults would have difficulty matching and he left us in no doubt about who he thought was in charge! Thanks to Charlotte (mum) for the cakes, they were deeelicious! And to Richard (dad, senior county team manager, player and junior coach) for always doing whatever he can to support and promote island badminton.
Max Coelho (10) (team member) and dad Dan (league player) managed a few hours on Saturday with Dan coming back later and playing into the early hours.
Lacey Gulliver (12) (team member) brought along younger brother Bailey (10) as well as mum Debbie and dad Dougie. They put in a long stint up to about midnight then came back in the morning and stayed to the end.
Emily Clow (11) and her brother Oliver (13) (both team members) arrived with mum Michelle at noon on Saturday and put in a long session and arrived back early Sunday and performed very well up to mid day.
Sarah Baggott (10) (team member) and mum Jo (IOWBA social sec. and league player) arrived early, stayed late into the night and then came back early Sunday and stayed to the end.
Sarah was later joined by big sisters Sofie and Lucy (both senior county and league players) and grandma Penny Osman turned up to give her support and make it a full house for the Baggott/Osman clan.
Senior county and league players James Phillips and Stuart Isaacs arrived with Sofie and Lucy. All 4 arrived late on Saturday evening after working all day and stayed and played into the early hours. All 4 were an excellent example to the youngsters and gave them great encouragement. Stuart had a short break then came back in the morning with younger brother Jack (league player) and both stayed until noon. Stuart also, very generously, paid for the hire of the hall.
The family Isaacs presence was completed by the arrival of Sally(senior county and league player) Saturday evening. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to play due to an ongoing injury. Despite us all enjoying a Chinese take away at around 8.30pm and everyone bringing our own food, the big pile of extra goodies brought by Sally was very much appreciated and enjoyed by everyone, thanks Sally.
Neil Cain (freshwater club) put in 2 long sessions on Saturday, 1 either side of a tennis match.
Jon Leeke (league player) from “GoPuffin” driving school and Jon (league player) and Julie O’Bryan (freshwater club) from “Coast and Country Marquees” all joined us Saturday evening after working all day and stayed late into Sunday and came back later to help finish off the session.
Gill Bushell called in on Sunday morning to lend her support. Between them, the generous financial contributions made by Gill, Jon Leeke and the O’Bryan’s were sufficient to cover all the expenses incurred by this event, plus a bit left over, and along with Stuarts contribution for the hall this means that all the money raised by the children’s efforts will go towards the purchase of equipment and travel and other associated costs.
Last but by no means least Richard Price (league player), despite a busy day ahead of him turned up to play for 3 hours, but more importantly he brought his outdoor camping stove and cooked bacon and eggs for anyone who wanted them, which of course was most of us.
This is probably the hardest thing that most of those involved have ever undertaken. But everyone put in the maximum possible effort and got out an enormous amount of enjoyment and fun, as well as some special memories.
For my own part, despite fatigue and ever increasing pain, I cannot remember a single moment when I wasn’t either smiling or laughing.
I think/hope I’ve remembered to mention everyone who took part, if not they know who they are and I will thank them personally when I see them.
A massive thank you goes out to everyone who dug into their pockets in support of the children, it really is very much appreciated. And if after reading this report anyone else feels they would like to contribute towards the training and development costs of these very talented, focussed and determined young athletes, I can be contacted on 07821938109 or at email@example.com
The next fund raising activity has already been organised by Richard Gray, Jo Baggott and Penny Osman for Sunday 13th March and I hope it receives as much support as this one.
Kindest regards to everyone involved in IOW badminton.
Keith Hobbins. Junior Development Secretary.