VIDEO: Gold Coast ambitions for badminton duo Dunn and Hall21 November 2017
Life has turned full circle for student badminton doubles pair Alex Dunn and Adam Hall who enter this week’s Scottish Open Grand Prix at the Emirates Arena (22-26 November) as genuine contenders.
Hall, an Open University of Scotland Introduction to Sport & Fitness Management second-year, was a finalist in this event a year ago but returns this time with a different partner in Dunn, who studies BSc Sport & Physical Activity at the University of Strathclyde.
Having paired each other as juniors, progressing to the point where they won bronze together in the 2015 European Junior Championships, Hall moved south to the Great Britain base in Milton Keynes.
But UK sport’s recent funding cuts to badminton meant he was forced to return home and the pair have since reunited.
“It was a bit of a change for me to play with Alex after being down in Milton Keynes playing with someone that was a lot more experienced than me,” admits Hall, who had partnered England’s Peter Mills when he was England-based.
“So it took a bit of time be go from being the inexperienced one to the experienced one. But it was quite nice in the first couple of tournaments we played being back where were from two years ago.”
This March, in their first tournament back together, Dunn and Hall reached the finals in the Polish Open. And hopefully that is just the start of their good results as they hope to qualify for Team Scotland at next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“Currently we are sitting around 66 in the world so if we get a good result at the Scottish Grand Prix that means more points and hopefully we will get closer to that qualifying spot,” said Dunn.
“The Scottish is our home event and obviously it’s great to play there. Looking at the opposition there’s a lot of good players but if Adam and I play our best, I don’t see why we can’t go far.”
Dunn and Hall are amongst 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes. Through it they receive funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.
Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network with the programme being funded by the Scottish Funding Council. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.
“The financial benefit of Winning Students, especially when everyone is getting funding cuts, and badminton is getting hit particularly hard, has been invaluable,” said Hall, who sees Open University as the perfect a “perfect fit” to balance studies with sport.
“I wouldn’t be able to afford to play tournaments and try and qualify for the CG without Winning Students.”