Young star Wakefield on how losing makes him better

Harry Wakefield World Juniors 800

June 17 2024

Harry Wakefield has badminton in his blood and is hellbent on achieving a family dream of playing in an Olympic Games but knows he will have to lose matches to get there.

Wakefield, 19, is one of Badminton England’s rising stars, currently working on his game as he sets his sights on silverware down the line.

After dominating at county and youth level, Wakefield now finds himself in the big time – surrounded by the best England has to offer in the sport, who are not beaten easily.

And while he may no longer be the best in the building, he insists that the taste of defeat is only pushing him further to improve, hoping to join the likes of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy at LA 2028.

“Going from an academy where me and my partner were better than everyone else to an environment where you’re the worst training with Olympic players every day, it can be a little bit demoralising,” Wakefield said.

“I’ve got a very winning mentality and when I’m not beating amazing badminton players, it did get to me.

“I look at Ben and Sean and it motivates me even more. Their overall attitude towards the sport inspires me a lot.

“Because I’m not winning as many matches in training, it motivates me to push harder in the gym and on the court, just so I can catch up to players over time.

“Setting my goals high, I want to play the LA 2028 Olympics. I know it’s only four years away, but I think I can do it. I might as well reach for the stars.”

Born and raised in the Norfolk countryside, Wakefield’s training regiment was disrupted by the fact his local area was starved of any top-level badminton facilities.

Needing to travel far and wide to further his game, Wakefield is quick to emphasise the importance of his parents in helping him reach the level he finds himself at today – citing his father as a key person in his badminton journey.

“My dad got me into it, he was quite a good player, he played county level,” Wakefield said.

“He started taking me to sports centres and clubs, we just started playing and I fell in love with the sport. I loved it and I just kept playing from there.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my parents. I think they put in a massive amount of dedicated time for my badminton, whether that be travelling up and down the country for training, because where I lived before there weren’t too many training opportunities.

“We were driving to Milton Keynes every two or three days, which meant there were quite a lot of sacrifices they had to make. I don’t think I can thank them enough.”

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