I am a retired Scottish Olympic badminton player currently working as an all-sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator.
I started playing badminton in the late 1980s while still at primary school. I happened to win the very first tournament for which I was entered by my parents – the Under 10 Midlothian Junior Open, and this nascent success gave me a taste for competitive badminton which has never left me.
Over 20 years of countless long, hard days of seemingly endless training, exhaustive travelling to compete on the world badminton stage whilst juggling my degree course at university and finally, overcoming a serious, on-court career-threatening knee injury during the 2012 Olympic Games qualifying period, added-up to many challenges and obstacles that sorely tested my will and determination.
But there was a lot of fun - and success too!
I believed at the time – and continue to believe now, that as a full-time athlete, a full-time professional badminton player, I had the best job in the world. Countless junior badminton successes at local and national level were followed by 90 senior international badminton caps, 7 international titles, 6 Scottish National Badminton Championship singles titles, 3 Commonwealth Games appearances ( including 2 medals), a career-high world ranking of 19, a 3-year UK dominance as British number 1, and selection-for and competing-in the London 2012 Olympics as the sole ladies singles player within Team GB …eventually my 29-year-old body decided that enough was enough and my final Olympic match in the Wembley Arena proved to be my valedictory performance.
Nevertheless, if my elite-athlete capabilities have been somewhat diminished by the passing of time, my enthusiasm for sport – and all things sport, has been considerably enhanced. I believe that as a hugely-experienced former elite athlete, I have a significant contribution to make as a sports journalist and broadcaster. To that end, I am most grateful for the opportunities that have been provided to me by The Herald Scotland, The Sunday Herald, The National and BBC Radio Scotland.
Complementary to my journalistic and broadcasting commitments, I remain dedicated to using my experience gained as an international athlete to inspire and motivate young people to be active, play sport and lead a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.
Susan Egelstaff, September, 2016.