As Lauren Smith gets ready for her third Commonwealth Games she is focusing on a big change on the court, while making small ones off it.
The 30-year-old from Carlisle has been named as part of Team England’s badminton squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and will be concentrating solely on the mixed doubles having previously also competed in the women’s doubles draw.
Smith will go in search of a first gold medal having claimed three silvers and two bronzes in her previous appearances.
The move to just one event has given Smith some unexpected free time and like the rest of the world, she’s been testing her puzzle skills with Wordle.
“When I went to the first tournament, the German Open, I just couldn’t quite believe how much free time I had,” Smith said.
“Normally I’d have a match quite early in the morning and have to get up, have breakfast, play a match, then instantly I’d switch into recovery and preparation for the next event later in the day, sometimes quite late in the evening.
“I went to Germany and on the first day my match was one o’clock in the afternoon, so I got up at quite a normal time, had a nice casual breakfast, prepared for the match, played the match and then I sat there twiddling my thumbs thinking ‘what do I do?’
“Obviously Wordle is a big thing and there is Wordle, Quordle and Octordle so they keep me busy for quite a while.
“I try not to do too much just sitting around and being obsessed by Wordle, I try and get out and go for a walk around the city that we’re in, it’s been nice but not great for screen time!”
Smith, who is now based in Milton Keynes, travelled down from her native Cumbria to watch the Commonwealth Games when they came to Manchester in 2002 and is now relishing the chance to represent her country with the Games back in England.
Away from the court, Smith is passionate about the environment and has begun to introduce little changes into her lifestyle, as she looks to have less of an impact on the planet.
Naturally she has to travel lengthy distances for work and as a result is wary of her own carbon footprint.
But the Cumbrian shuttler is making small changes that she believes will go a long way and encourages others to do the same.
She added: “I know that I’m a huge hypocrite when I talk about sustainability because I am far from perfect.
“But my mindset has been that if everybody can just do small things that they can keep up, those little changes make a big difference. If you tell someone to go zero waste, they’ll just change nothing.
“Whereas if you tell somebody ‘have you thought about carrying your own cutlery?’, they’ll start doing that.
“Those are the things that make a difference in the long run and that’s the message I am trying to get out there.”