Powell set for global quest

Lydia Powell and Sean Vendy on the top step of the podium after winning the mixed doubles title in Italy
Lydia Powell and Sean Vendy on the top step of the podium after winning the mixed doubles title in Italy

Rising badminton star Lydia Powell can’t wait to represent her country in a global competition.

The Hastings-based talent is part of the England squad poised to compete in the BWF World Junior Championships 2014 in Malaysia.

She said: “To experience that is going to be amazing. All the top players from every country are going to be there and it’s going to be an amazing standard, but I’m looking to do really well there.”

The 35 competing countries for next week’s Suhandinata Team Cup have been split into eight boxes, with the top two in each advancing to contest the major placings.

England, whose team is made up of four boys and four girls, have been drawn in the same box as Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Afghanistan and Egypt.

“Looking to beat either Denmark or Chinese Taipei is going to be really challenging, but on the day we can definitely challenge both teams,” continued Powell. “We should be looking to win the other two matches.”

Matches will be played over five rubbers - a boys’ singles, girls’ singles, boys’ doubles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles. Powell hopes to play in the girls’ singles and possibly mixed doubles.

The individual events for the Eye Level Cups will take place the following week, and Powell is down to play in the girls’ singles and doubles. The action is due to finish on Good Friday, which also happens to be Powell’s 18th birthday.

Parkwood 6th form student Powell flew out to south east Asia on Wednesday night full of confidence following an excellent performance in Europe last weekend.

Powell won the mixed doubles with Sean Vendy and claimed a girls’ doubles bronze medal alongside Jess Hopton at the IV Italian Junior International in Milan - her first overseas honours. She also reached the quarter-finals of the girls’ singles.

“It went really well,” Powell continued. “I was really happy with how I played. I definitely knew I had a chance of medalling out there, but I didn’t think for one minute I would win an event because it was quite strong.”

Powell and Vendy edged out a Spanish pair 15-21, 21-15, 21-19 in the mixed doubles final, but the former regarded their three-set win over a Turkish twosome in round three as their best result.

Powell, who has played in several European nations since the turn of the year, is now up to 19th in the national senior women’s singles and doubles rankings, and 14th in the mixed list.

Once her studies are concluded locally this summer, Powell hopes to train full time in Milton Keynes as part of her long-term goal to become one of the top five singles players in the world.