Badminton - Men's Doubles Preview

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A week since my first outing, tomorrow night sees my second assault on the mountain of Olympic events to be completed before Beijing 2008. I’m playing badminton again – doubles this time – at the same venue; the Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre.

Last week, I let Gareth beat me in the singles. This week, we will join forces to take on John Adams and Will Clapton, two colleagues from work. Gareth is left-handed. In theory, that should make it harder to play doubles with him as our forehands attack the same area of the court, but in practice, we played quite well the odd time we were paired together last winter.

John plays badminton like he plays most sports I’ve seen him tackle – with an unbounded enthusiasm and quiet determination that tends to negate any lack of technical ability. He’s the sort of player (of any game) that you’d back yourself to beat and then get stung by. He’s like the Terminator; he absolutely will not stop until you are dead.

Will is an unknown sporting quantity. When he joined the company a few months ago, I snuck a look at his CV, wherein it is proudly stated that Mr Clapton once played junior county badminton. Since accepting the invite to play tomorrow, he has barely missed a chance to point out that he hasn’t played for some time and that he’s not as good as he used to be. Time will tell.

I’m hoping that (in theory) only having to cover half the court in doubles means that I won’t feel quite so sore this Friday and Saturday as I did last week – although, if the truth be known, I can bypass my greatest source of pain from the last game simply by wearing a different shirt – one without a nipple-rubbing emblem on the chest.