At the age of 22, Irish international badminton player Sam Magee from the Donegal town of Raphoe already has a long list of achievement to his credit.
Since he started playing as a teenager, Sam, a doubles specialist, has won a European Junior gold medal in the men’s doubles, as well as Norwegian, Lithuanian and Turkish international titles and taken a growing list of Irish titles.
For the past year, he has concentrated on the mixed doubles and in April, with sister Chloe, he reached the final of the Dutch Open.
Now Sam faces his biggest challenge – the World Badminton Championships, hosted by China, a nation that has dominated international badminton for the past decade.
He and Chloe will compete in the mixed doubles when competition begins next month; Chloe and Scott Evans will also compete in the singles, while brother Dan is the team coach.
Over the past few months, his preparation for China has taken top priority and Sam has worked hard to improve his play.
“We have been putting in a lot of heavy, intense sessions and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together over in China.”
“I have a few personal goals. Two things for me to work on before China are my power and movement on court. I’ve also been working alongside Chloe to analyse our patterns of play and other technical matters.”
Playing in China can be an intimidating experience for any badminton player, especially when they are drawn against local heroes and face a partisan crowd. Magee, however, relishes the challenge.
“It’s always great to get the opportunity to play in Asia. There’s a great standard of badminton there and the level of competition is fantastic.
“The trips can, of course, be draining both physically and mentally and fighting jetlag while trying to play is always a challenge. But the atmosphere in Asia makes it all worthwhile.”
Being one half of Europe’s top mixed doubles partnership and one of our most successful junior players means extra pressure. Magee takes it all in his stride and is already planning for the winter.
“We get a very short break after the Worlds. Then it’s back to another block of tough training in preparation for the season ahead.
“The plan then is to take on a few of the bigger tournaments on the European circuit. We’ll be aiming to improve our rankings before Christmas.”
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