Para-badminton will make its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and local sportsman Jack Wilson, 23, from Glyn Ceiriog is setting his sights on a place representing Wales as a Team GB badminton squad member.
Canolfan Ceiriog’s badminton club in Glyn Ceiriog provided Jack with the perfect outlet for his competitive spirit after he fell out of love with football as a teenager. Keen to find another sport where he could compete with others, Jack simply picked up a badminton racquet one Wednesday evening aged 13 and popped along to the club to see if he could get a game. He did. And it has proven a life-changing punt.
“I completely fell in love with the game… I wanted to be pushed harder and take it up a level”Jack Wilson
Quickly hooked, he continued to play at the friendly, but very competitive, club every week for the next two years. Jack’s unbridled enthusiasm and excellent racquet skills progressed rapidly over a short period and his talent for the sport was soon recognised. “I completely fell in love with the game. I went every Wednesday for about two years,” he recalls. “But I got to the stage where I wanted to be pushed harder and take it up a level.”
The desire to challenge himself soon saw Jack searching for a more competitive environment and a badminton club that participated in a league – or ladder as it is known. It was a friend who recommended he join the Wynnstay Arms Badminton Club in Llangollen.
Born without the lower half of his right arm, he explains how it has never prevented him getting involved in sporting or other physical activities. “The doctors were never able to tell my parents the reason it happened,” he says. “It was just one of those things, you know. I don’t notice it to be honest with you.”
Prowess and Progress
In 2015, at the Carlton Irish Para-badminton International, Jack represented Wales for the first time on an International stage, landing himself a bronze medal. “It was obviously completely daunting,” he says of the moment he stepped into an international arena. “But that said, it was also completely exhilarating, especially knowing the kind of talent I was facing. To come away with a bronze was incredible.”
The resolute 23 year-old has gone on to proudly wear the Wales vest in numerous badminton tournaments since, including the European Championships, the Turkish International and, as recent as October, the Danish International where he secured a bronze medal in the singles. Given it was Jack’s first competition since sustaining a serious hip flexer injury during a 5k run earlier this year, makes that bronze medal all the more remarkable an achievement.
Reflecting on the injury, and with it the inability to train at his usual intensity, Jack speaks of maintaining a relentless focus on achieving his goals. Few people can claim a more moving motivation to achieve their sporting ambition than Jack. “I lost my dad when I was nine,” he reveals. “I want to do this for him. I want to show him the kind of man I’ve become,” he says with humbling candour. “I want to make him proud.”
He confesses these thoughts have picked him back up and encouraged him to continue through periods when he lost faith in his talent, and especially during the “downward spiral” he experienced over what was a frustrating recovery from injury.
Jack’s motivation, combined with a modest attitude and steely determination to succeed, make for a winning formula.
Double.LL looks forward to watching him work towards his goal of being selected for a place in the Team GB Para-badminton squad at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We’ll be behind him cheering him on every step of the way. Watch this space.