Meet the teenage badminton champion from Ponteland who trains around her GCSEs

A teenage badminton champion is training up to 20 hours a week while studying for her GCSEs at the same time.

England junior badminton player, Lucy Dodd is celebrating success on the courts at school, county and national levels.

The sporty 14-year-old was recently selected to play for England u15s in the European 8 Nations, having previously achieved gold medal success in her first appearance for the national u15 team.

She also plays for the Northumberland County Senior 1st team, where she has won six of her eight matches played to date.

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Lucy, from Ponteland, started playing badminton in Year 4 and by eight years old, she was competing in u13 county matches.

Now a Year 10 student at Dame Allan’s Schools, in Newcastle, she was instrumental in the creation of a school badminton club and helps train other pupils.

Despite her success, the teenager remains grounded.

She said: “I try not to focus on the winning; Some of my greatest achievements have been when I’ve made significant improvements or felt proud of how I’ve played against a much better opponent.

“It is important to balance my badminton success with the rest of my life.

“I want to play at a level I find enjoyable, yet challenging – while also having time for school and friends.”

The talented player has already attended two Badminton England Junior Pathway training camps this year and won two medals at a recent national u17 Gold tournament.

In September, she played for England in the Junior Quadrangular tournament, and in November won three bronze medals at the u15 Nationals.

Dame Allan Schools, where Lucy is a student

Lucy said: “It was fantastic to get back to tournaments last year after Covid.

“I had set myself a dream of an England team place and was delighted to be selected.

“I was very proud to put my England kit on, and equally pleased to come back with a team win and 2 individual gold medals. But it was the team spirit and the friendships I developed that really made it for me. “

Lucy has been heavily involved in sport from a young age. At just 3 years old she took up tennis and gymnastics, and at Dame Allan’s Schools she has played competitively in almost every school sport.

She has also enjoyed football at club level and trains on the u15 Northumberland county cricket team.

In December, Sport Tynedale awarded Lucy the Stan Calvert Scholarship, which is given to a young player who displays excellence in their chosen sport, to help further develop their potential.

The Tyneside Badminton Center, where Lucy does the bulk of her training
The Tyneside Badminton Center, where Lucy does the bulk of her training

Lucy, who has received assistance from Sport Newcastle and The Bernicia Foundation, said: “With matches, tournaments and England commitments, I’m away sometimes 3 in every 4 weekends, then with training on top of that, I dedicate up to 20- hours-a-week to badminton.

“Most of my training is at the Tyneside Badminton Center which is a fantastic local facility.

“Thankfully, I have had so much support from the people around me – my family, friends, the school, teammates and coaches – and that means a lot.”

Lucy is studying for her GCSEs, which she will sit next year, and her principal, Will Scott, has praised her hard work both on the court and at school.

“Lucy has shown such dedication to her badminton, and celebrated remarkable success, while recognizing the importance of living a ‘normal’ teenage life away from the courts,” he said.

He added: “It can be hard to strike a healthy work-life balance when playing sport at national level, but Lucy is focused at school and finds time for herself and friends; her maturity is to be admired.”

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