Young gun Oliver Butler feeling the love of badminton

Oliver Butler 800

Oliver Butler may be one of the brightest badminton starlets in the country, but he wants to remind you that it’s not all hard work and no play.

The talented 19-year-old forms one half of the Badminton Bros alongside friend Nadeem Dalvi – a badminton-centric Instagram account with almost 100,000 followers – designed to promote the game, whether through trick shots or freestyle events.

Yet despite his key role in the account, Butler admitted its creation was a spur of the moment and he never expected the page to gain its popularity.

He said: ‘‘Nadeem and I started training at the national centre together and from there we decided, ‘Well we’ve got lunch breaks and some free time so why not start a page and see where it takes us?’

‘‘It started off as a bit of fun but then it progressed and got into the numbers. It was just for a bit of a laugh but it’s all good so far. It’s really weird. We went from zero to 30k fairly quickly, and when we started to hit the higher teens, our account blew up which was really nice.

‘‘I hope it can show it’s not just a serious sport. Obviously, it is but you can have a lot of fun there. We based our account off a lot of trick shots and fun that people can try, and we hope that it shows that it’s a fun sport that you can get into easily.’’

Offline, Butler is one of the most prodigious players in England, the latest graduate of a talent pipeline in Milton Keynes that has produced the likes of Sean Vendy, Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood.

From humble beginnings hitting shuttlecocks in his living room, Butler has gone on to compete in a host of tournaments at home and abroad.

He notably medalled at the U17 European Championships in the mixed doubles alongside partner Chloe Dennis.

Butler won the singles and mixed doubles events in the U17 Nationals, also picking up a bronze in the boys doubles before taking double bronze medals at the U19 National Championships in a showing that belied his years.

His most recent display might have ended in disappointment with a round of 16 exit alongside partner Sian Kelly in the mixed doubles of the 2024 Austrian Open last week, and while the teenager knows what he needs to improve, he isn’t losing sight of his love for the game.

Butler added: ‘‘Enjoying and improving, I think, comes hand-in-hand. At training I’m enjoying every day and I know I’m improving. I think that motivates me, I can enjoy it and improve and I can enjoy that I improve.

‘‘The Austrian Open was a really good tournament. It was good to see our level there and that we can bring it. We just need to start executing those matches that we’re losing, especially in the third set but hopefully when we do that, we’ll start to see some serious improvements.

‘‘We’ve got different technical things to work on in training but tournaments wise and results-wise, taking these matches to three is good but we need to start executing and I think that’s a big thing to focus on.”

Image Credits: Jnanesh Salian via BadmintonWire

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