Wellington-based athlete Andrew Martin has already scaled sporting heights as a para-badminton player. His CV includes winners’ medals at both European and World Championships as both a singles and doubles player over the last 9 years – but now he has set his sights on an Olympic Gold medal.
Para-badminton will be included in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo for the first time and Andrew’s life-long dream is to represent his country and bring home the ultimate prize. In order to achieve his goal he needs support from individuals and the community as he is totally self-funded. Money for training expenses, competition entry fees, air fares, hotels and equipment all have to be found from his own resources.
Andrew (30) believes he is approaching his peak as an athlete but needs to train for 12 to 14 hours a week with a coach, attend England training camps and enter tournaments both at home and around the world to maintain his ranking. This year alone he will enter international competitions in Japan in September, the USA in October and the World Championships in South Korea in November.
He said, “I have a very supportive family who have been an enormous help, but over the last 2 years I’ve had to use my savings to get me to competitions and training. I do 20 hours a week plus overtime at Wellington Asda and have no holidays. Competition comes first.”
Andrew’s stellar career as a para-athlete (he competes in the SS6 category for short stature athletes) began when he was at school but his decision to focus on badminton was made when he failed to make the London 2012 Paralympics’ javelin team. He said, “I’ve always wanted to compete in the Paralympics and had an inkling that badminton was going to be included in 2020 and in 2024. I’ve always played badminton and used to go to the Dwarf Sport Association weekends where it was available. Now, I’m in it to win it. If I represent my country and come home with just a bronze medal that’s all that matters to me.”
To achieve his dream Andrew is looking for financial support. He has opened a page on the gofundme.com website and hopes to raise up to £10,000 to bring home gold in 2020. As a player already in the top 5 in the world in singles he has a genuine chance but needs the community’s support.
He said, ‘I have a lifelong dream to be a Paralympian, to represent my country and to win a Paralympic medal. That’s why I do it.”