Rising badminton star Lydia Powell is set to take part in the UK’s first ever national league.
Lydia Powell has been snapped up by Team Derby for the inaugural National Badminton League (NBL), which starts on October 6 and will be televised live on Sky Sports.
Powell, 18, said: “It’s really, really big. Badminton’s not really televised that much so it’s something that’s really going to open up the sport. Everyone will be able to see what talent we’ve got in this country and hopefully it will have a really positive outlook.”
The NBL will consist of six franchised teams featuring GB’s best players and new, emerging talent. The teams are Birmingham Lions (University of Birmingham), Team Derby (University of Derby), Loughborough Sport (University of Loughborough), University of Nottingham Badminton (University of Nottingham), Surrey Smashers (University of Surrey) and Milton Keynes.
“To be asked by more than one team was quite good because as a junior I wasn’t expecting that,” Powell continued. “Derby wanted to make me more a part of the team and more likely to play matches, plus I’ll get a lot more training opportunities as well.”
With the television coverage the NBL will enjoy, Powell is hoping sponsors will take advantage of advertising space on her playing shirt. Any interested businesses should email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her Twitter profile @_boompow
Having finished her A Levels at Parkwood 6th Form, Hastings-based Powell is now getting stuck in to her summer training ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2014/15 season.
Powell is hoping to train full time at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes from September and will also be playing national league badminton in Switzerland.
She is also aiming to get among the medals at the European Junior Championships next spring and the top domestic events in her last season at under-19 level.
Powell wants to play in extra senior tournaments abroad as part of her long-term goal to be the UK’s number one senior and make the world’s top five. She is currently ranked in the national senior top 20 for women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Powell made great strides last season, which was her first year of internationals. The U19 Wimbledon International Singles winner played for England at the BWF World Junior Championships 2014 in Malaysia in April and produced some very strong performances.
“Physically I’ve always been quite good, but I’ve been working really hard with my one-to-one coach technically and I feel like I’ve improved a lot through that,” she added.