Missing out on the Gold Coast four years ago proved extra motivation for Toby Penty to ensure he did not miss out on a home Commonwealth Games and the Olympian cannot wait to get started in Birmingham.
The 28-year-old from Walton-on-Thames just missed out on the squad for the 2018 edition but will lead the charge in the men’s singles after having his selection confirmed in April.
It capped a memorable week for Penty, who had been on the terraces to see his beloved Fulham promoted to the Premier League a matter of days previously, and their winning formula is something Penty is hoping to emulate.
“I felt like I was pretty close to getting to the Gold Coast four years ago,” Penty said. “I remember getting that call and I feel like I was the next on the list. Even in my head, I felt like it was my chance to go, I felt like I’d earned it.
“But it wasn’t to be and I’m glad that four years on, I’ve now got this opportunity and to be at a home Games, especially after the events of the last couple of years, I’m really excited.
“It definitely fuels the fire. I think sometimes we need these, I guess it was a big setback at the time, but looking back on it now, it was a little setback to fuel those fires in the short term.
“Once the Olympics got moved back a year, seeing that it was going to be an Olympic year, followed by a Commonwealth year that was a real motivation to try within those 12 months to really push myself to get the best out of myself for those two events.”
Penty reached the round of 16 as he made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 in the men’s singles but will not come up against his Danish defeater Anders Antonsen in Birmingham.
However, some of the world’s best will still be descending on England’s second city with Penty hoping to follow Fulham’s lead and focus on enjoyment.
He added: “It was amazing to be at the match when we were promoted and fingers crossed next year we can stay up.
“Having read a lot about their mindset and bringing the team back from where it was, a lot of it was around enjoyment and enjoying each other’s company and for us as the badminton team and for them as a squad, [it is about] relishing that time together whilst working really hard.
“Those are the same principles I want to bring into my own training and the environment when we are out there, especially as we have a team event for the Commonwealths as well.”