Sunday, August 5, 2007

Vaughan the Last Man Standing for Worlds

Wales’s Richard Vaughan heads out as the sole Welsh competitor for the Proton BWF World Badminton Championships in KL, Malaysia 13th-19th August. Despite 5 Welsh players qualifying, Martyn Lewis, Matthew Hughes, Joe Morgan and James Phillips namely the other 4, a funding crisis has seen all support withdrawn for all 5 with only Richard deciding to take on the ominous task of self funding to Asia for badminton’s most prestigious event.

In the draw Richard has been drawn to meet in the first round French No1 Erwin Kehlhoffner . World No48 Kehlhoffner last week’s winner of the North Shore City International in New Zealand has been in good form of late and will be looking to carry forward this momentum into next weeks World Championships.

Vaughan said “Erwin will be a tough game; I have a played two, won two record with him this year, but I am well aware of his recent good results and will be taking nothing for granted. He’s a proven dangerous opponent.”

Richard has recently been drawn into a personal dilemma over the funding crisis which has struck WelshBadminton, a situation that has seen the Sports Council for Wales freeze all financial support towards the Welsh Badminton Team and could effect Richard critically as he sets his aim on a third successive Olympic Games in Beijing next year.

“The funding situation is disappointing and the decision making seems to lack logic especially when I am compared to other players within the GB structure who are receiving support. The timing of it all couldn’t be worse. The situation has never been an easy one as an athlete coming from Wales, and I am used to having to compete through difficult financial circumstances. I have done well in the past and I remain committed to qualification for Beijing 2008 for which I see no reason that I could not qualify for. One would think that Government directed money should be better aimed at Olympic athletes who are proven medal winners at major championships.”

“Additionally there seems to be parties within WelshBadminton who are unrelenting in their efforts to submit destructive comments in regards to my situation. Criticism is always something I have openly welcomed if it comes from a source that can be respected, but when it’s made with no constructive intent and from persons who really hold no position to comment, it can only ever serve a negative purpose not least to me but to Badminton in Wales as a whole. “

“At the moment Badminton in Wales seems to be reaching a desperate meltdown structurally and financially. There has been no National coach for the past year, funding has dried up, and the senior team are struggling for results. I would like to help find the answers as we work together for a long term solution for the future of Welsh Badminton”

“Thankfully there are those who remain strong and committed to me on the road to Beijing. My sponsors Memory Lane Cakes, and Head are the main financial contributors but there are numerous people and parties from all round the UK that continue to help me immensely on a daily basis.”

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