Toby Penty looking to peak for Team England

·3-min read
Toby Penty during the Round of 32 during at the European Badminton Championships 2022
Toby Penty during the Round of 32 during at the European Badminton Championships 2022

Having peaked at the ideal time during last year’s Olympics, badminton star Toby Penty is looking to do the same for Team England at the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Just like Tokyo, it has not been the smoothest route to a major championship for the 29-year-old from Walton-on-Thames, although nothing like the hardship he had to go through before.

Penty struggled with his mental health after being diagnosed with alopecia in November 2018, with his condition causing him to lose every hair on his body, but he fought back magnificently in the men’s singles at the Olympics.

A run to the last 16 including a win over world bronze medallist Kantaphon restored his confidence, even in the face of injury.

“I’ve still had issues with my knee and I picked up an issue with my right Achilles in Tokyo,” said Penty.

“That’s been bothering me and it decided to follow across to my left one as well, so I was waking up first thing in the morning with a stiff, tight Achilles.

“Having seen other people who have gone through it and think they’re only kidding me, it’s not that bad, waking up and trying to walk downstairs first thing in the morning I can totally appreciate how that feels now.

“The only good thing in that respect has been my body has started coming together again when it needed to and you learn to deal with it a little bit as you get older.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, and having secured his place on the squad, Penty is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in his home country.

And with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Penty hopes sharing his story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality

The timing of Penty’s recovery could not have been better, as he prepares for his first Commonwealth Games, which precedes a return to Tokyo for the World Championships in August.

The past 12 months have already been a high point for a man who has played badminton since the age of nine and is now looking for his biggest achievement yet in a career that has seen him win five international tournaments.

Penty said: “The men’s singles competition is very tough – you’ve got three medallists from last year’s World Championship in the competition: two from India and one from Singapore.

“It’s going to be tough going, but I’ve kind of shown now that on the day I can compete with any of these guys.

“The outlook is I might not be able to do it quite as well as these guys, who can play at that level every week, but in my head, I’ve justified that I don’t need to.

“I just want to be able to do it on these big stages and to do it at a home Games is the only thing I’ve been thinking about this year.

“The kind of way I’ve been working is if I don’t peak one day in training or in a warm-up tournament leading up to this, that’s OK because I know when I want to put it all together, similar to last year.”
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