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Badminton Star Aiming for the Top with First Win of the Season

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A first year sports student at the University of Worcester has the Commonwealth Games of 2018 firmly in his sights, after winning a major badminton tournament.

Will Kitching, who is receiving support from the University’s athlete mentor programme, became the Singles Champion at the first Welsh satellite tournament of the year.

The Solihull teenager, who is settling in to his first year studying for a Sports Coaching Science degree, said: “It was fantastic to take the singles title at this first event. My long term aim is to compete at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, which would be a massive achievement. Badminton is my whole life.”

Eighteen-year-old Will, a former student at Langley School in Solihull and Warwickshire College in Henley-in-Arden, started playing badminton at the age of 11 as both of his parents enjoyed the sport.

“I found that I had a natural talent and I just started competing and rising through the ranks,” he said. “I started at County and Regional level.”

Will is a Gold level scholar on the University of Worcester’s Sports Scholarship programme for elite athletes. As well as financial assistance, the scholarship gives Will access to individual Strength & Conditioning sessions, fitness testing, sports therapy, nutrition & lifestyle workshops, sports psychology, performance anaylsis and High Performance Student Athlete Mentors.

He is coached by Andy Hartley, who also coaches the University’s Men’s Badminton first team. Andy is considered as one of the best badminton specialists in the country and has devoted his life to the development of the sport.

“I hadn’t planned on going to university but Andy persuaded me that I should get some academic qualifications behind me,” Will said. “When I came to look at Worcester I was blown away by the facilities, including the Arena, and the excellent staff. I actually came to start using the facilities a full nine months before I officially started at the University, which was amazing.”

“Juggling my training and competing with academic studies is quite difficult, but my athlete mentor has been fantastic at helping me to plan and use my time well,” he added.