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Badminton looks to new generation of players

The senior age-group for badminton players in schools internationals has been lowered from under-18 to under-17 and Dan Travers, the Scottish national coach, is now targeting younger players.

Mr Travers, who won a Commonwealth men's doubles gold medal 11 years ago, will have talks shortly with the Scottish Schools' Badminton Union. One aspect that concerns him is diet. "We need to emphasise that players have to be athletes first and foremost. Diet can make all the difference to a player and we have to emphasise that fitness is important," he said.

"I attended the recent under-14 Eight Nations event in Edinburgh and watched Scotland v Austria in one hall and when I went through to watch Denmark v Sweden in another hall it was like watching youngsters who were two years older. They looked a lot fitter and it is just a different approach to the game. These youngsters had come from a regime where they are playing badminton five nights a week at their local clubs."

Scotland finished sixth in the event with wins over Austria and France but Travers has no doubt that Scotland is still producing talented players, as witnessed by last weekend's Clydesdale Bank Scottish Junior Championships at Meadowbank.

One of the problems is that few top players are able to make a living from the sport but Travers hopes that lottery funding for elite programmes will lead to as many as 10 turning full-time.

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