Thursday 02 February 2017
Fontaine Chapman is Badminton England's number one girl. Having begun playing badminton at just 6 years old, she first played for her country at the age of 12. Here, she shares her memories of playing at the Scottish Open Grand Prix, Glasgow's Commonwealth Games in 2014, and why she's hoping to be at the World Championships this summer!
"For most badminton players, competing at a World Championships is the goal. To qualify and represent your country alongside the very best players from all over the world is an incredible feeling and a great experience, and my first World Championships in Denmark 2014 was just that.
Following three years of injuries, I was determined to achieve my goals and I finally asserted my number one position on the England team and succeeded in winning my first senior England cap in February 2014. I remained number one in England but unfortunately I wasn’t selected for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and so I set my sights firmly on qualifying for the World Championships later that year. I had a tough first round, coming up against the newly crowned Canadian Commonwealth Champion, but I gave it my all and pushed her to 28-26. After having this taste of competing alongside the best in the world, I’ve now made it my aim to reach every World Championships until I retire!
The 2015 Worlds were a tough one for me and, unfortunately, I didn’t perform to the level I wanted to. It was my first time competing in Indonesia and I was excited to get on court after hearing about the amazing crowds which would fill the famous Istoria Arena in Jakarta. Whilst the atmosphere was incredible, disappointingly my badminton wasn’t. To make things worse I left Indonesia with a bacterial infection that made me ill for almost two months.
Though it was a tough road getting back to normal health, my strength thankfully returned in time for me to compete in the Scottish Open 2015 at the end of November.
I first competed at the Scottish Open when I was a junior and it was held in the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena. I competed in both singles and doubles at the time and couldn’t wait to become a senior international so I could play these tournaments all the time.
The Scottish Open has always been a tournament which English players succeeded at and I am striving to emulate this success in my own career. Since the tournament moved to the Emirates Arena, I always enjoy stepping out onto court and of course it helps that I put in good performances too! For me, the size of the arena and the enthusiastic school children in the crowd make such a difference when I’m on court and can help me to perform at my best. I believe the organisation of the Scottish Open is possibly one of the best on the European circuit and this can make such a difference for players when they travel from different countries.
With all this in mind, I think the 2017 Badminton World Championships in Glasgow is going to be one to remember. I am doing all I can to ensure I qualify and perform at my best so I can enjoy that walk out onto court and competing in the Emirates Arena once again!"
Get tickets for the 2017 TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships.