Sunday 21 January 2018

I'll be back, vows plucky Scott as his luck runs out

HE may be out of the Games, but it's definitely not the end of the world for one of our badminton heroes.

Scott Evans was beaten by world number one Lin Dan, from China -- the 'Roger Federer' of badminton and regarded as the greatest player ever.

But for Scott, who was once scouted by Manchester United, this is only the beginning of his career.

"He is disappointed," his mother Cheryl told the Herald. "Lin Dan is an awesome player. I think he will take the gold. Scott was super and a great Irishman."

The Dubliner had the pick of sports as a teenager when even Manchester United scouts came looking.

But at 16 he left his home and school in Wesley, Dundrum, to live in Copenhagen, Denmark, to focus on his badminton career.

He was inspired by his father Martin, a Welsh badminton champion.

School

"Sport dominated our lives," said his mother. "We all play something -- my husband plays golf, I go running, badminton and my other son is big into cycling.

"When Scott was in fifth year in Wesley College he began to miss a lot of Mondays and Fridays going to badminton tournaments," Cheryl told the Herald.

"It was coming to a head and he was falling behind in his school work, he wasn't particularly interested in school.

"We felt he should follow his dreams, he can always study at a later stage. When he turned 16, Scott was at a tournament when a coach approached him, said that he had a talent but he needed to travel to Denmark where the sport is played more often.

"It was quite a huge wrench for him and for us," his mum said. "It took a bit of time to get used to it -- but we had to let him go for it, he was adamant that he should do it.

Lonely

"He was lonely -- he left all his family, friends and was living on his own. But he was determined to stick it out. Then he started to settle in. It has been good for him."

Like any mum knows, sport has extreme emotions.

"There are a lot of highs, a lot of lows," she said. "When things not going well. It can get a bit tougher."

The young star asked hypnotist Keith Barry to help him with nerves and concentration.

Unfortunately Scott's luck wasn't there in London yesterday. Scott said that he was upset that he didn't manage to make it through. "I'm pretty disappointed, I just didn't get into the game," he said.

However, his mother said that London 2012 is not the last we have heard of him.

"He's only 25 in September," she said. "He still quite young, he will still continue, it is in his blood."

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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