Gold Coast is the dream for Carder3 November 2016
With the selection period for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games opening early next year, Glasgow School of Art badminton player Matthew Carder is producing the best form of his singles career.
In August, the Edinburgh 23-year-old won his first senior title, the men’s singles, at the Slovak Open, continuing a successful run.
“Going in I felt it was a tournament I could possibly win but the draw was quite tough and I knew I’d have to play well,” said Carder.
“To win any tournament is a great achievement and all it takes is a couple of really good players to enter to make it hard.
“Being able to play five or six matches, which is a lot of games for a European tournament, shows good progress in these high level events.
“It was a good boost and propelled me in the rankings.”
Carder’s world singles ranking has, he explains, improved “at an exponential rate” since last year when he began achieving better results and progressing further in events than he had previously.
Today, on the eve of the Scottish Open, he now sits at 156 in the world. Yet despite his love for the Grand Prix event and the obvious attractions of competing in front of a home crowd at the Emirates Arena this month, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are the dream goal.
“Selection is coming up fast and I am trying to get as high ranking as possible,” he continued.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are in Scotland, it’s all about achieving a high enough ranking for Commonwealth Games.
“A high ranking means a higher seeding in the European tournaments, which gives you easier draws and boost your rankings.
“During the Glasgow 2014 Games I went to watch lots of different sports and it gave me a real sense of really wanting to be a part of it.
“Although selection will be really hard, being part of Team Scotland at the Gold Coast would be an absolute dream.
“I’ve been part of a multi sport event before at last year’s World University Games [finishing in the last 16] and it was amazing being part of a team and so different to playing just your own sport.”
Carder, who is studying an MSc Medical Visualisation & Human Anatomy, is one of 149 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.
Through the programme he receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.
Eighteen Scottish universities and 21 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.
“This is my sixth year with Winning Students and every year the funding has grown,” he said.
“You need to play 10 plus tournaments a season to get an average ranking.
“The support means I don’t have to worry about not being able to afford to play all of these tournaments.
“It’s great support and it helps a lot.”