Lydia is face of national scheme

Team England rising star Lydia Powell
Team England rising star Lydia Powell

Lydia Powell is set to feature as one of the faces of a new multi million pound Badminton England initiative aimed at bringing a new youth audience onto court to swing a racket.

The 17-year-old from Hastings is one of five badminton young guns, including reigning national champions at under-15 and under-17 level, who will spearhead the promotional push of SmashUp!, a new sociable youth badminton opportunity targeted at 13-16-year-olds.

Launched for the new school year, SmashUp! aims to reposition the image and perception of school delivered badminton as a relevant and dynamic lifestyle choice, with a mix of big hitting badminton challenges to suit all standards, bold on court branding, mid-game mobile phone breaks, music playlists, mates and no coaching, dress code or team selection.

Over 800 secondary schools across England have already expressed their interest in hosting weekly SmashUp! sessions to complement their existing formal club and team badminton offers, while national leisure operators are signing up to take the initiative into sports centres nationwide.

With the backing of Sport England, and partner support from Adidas and Center Parcs, the promotional push will also give extra profile to a golden generation of rising stars who are lighting up the junior ranks.