Badminton player Angus Pedersen has capped a memorable first year at the University of Bath by being named in the Great Britain squad for the World University Games in South Korea.
The Chemical Engineering student – who has won a host of medals since joining Pete Bush’s training group in September – is looking forward to representing his country at the Games, taking place in Gwangju from July 3-14.
“It was really surprising to get picked, given the strength of the squad and the fact that it’s my first year – everyone else is second or third-year,” said the 19-year-old.
“It will be a really good experience. A lot of full-time Asian players are registered at a university and can play in the competition, so there will be real strength in depth.
“There is a South Korean player called Lee Yong-dae who has been number one in the world at men’s doubles, winning the biggest events around, and I think he will be at the Games this year.
“It will be amazing to see people like that and possibly even play against them.”
Pedersen, who is supported by a Trendell Sports Scholarship, has gone from strength to strength since taking up full-time training at the Sports Training Village.
He claimed a hat-trick of titles at the Finnish International Junior Championships in October, then came away from the Under-19 English National Championships in Milton Keynes with two medals – silver in the doubles and bronze in the singles.
“Finland was probably the pinnacle of my season so far, that was my first-ever international success,” he said.
“I also competed in Germany recently at the biggest international competition of the season for juniors. I managed to beat the current junior world number nine from India, Laa Talar, and that was an amazing win – he is one of the top young players in Asia and that is saying something.
“The people I am losing to are full-time players who don’t go to university, so I’m happy to be up there competing against them.”
Pedersen’s call-up is the latest success for the University of Bath Badminton Club – they were named as Club of the Year at the recent Blues Awards, with club captain Chris Hotchen taking the Sports Personality of the Year prize.
The rude health of badminton in Bath was one of the key reasons why Pedersen elected to come to the university but the opportunity to gain a top-class education also swayed his decision.
“I knew about the work that [head coach] Pete Bush is doing and the great players here,” he said.
“Chris Hotchen was, and still is, a very very good player and everyone in the first team is a top national player, so I knew the training here would be really good.
“All the opportunities are here – we have such great training and support facilities, like sports psychology and strength and conditioning,
“But education was also very important to me – Bath academically is at another level and I want to get a good degree.
“I have my first exams coming up and they go on until May 28. I will basically have a life of revision and training, nothing else, but it will definitely be worth it.”
Pedersen is also grateful to the University of Bath for supporting his study and sport through the Dual Career programme and his Trendell Sports Scholarship.
“I get £1,000 a year towards travelling to tournaments and that meant I could compete in Finland and Germany this year,” he said.
“Without that support I would have to fund it myself and it would be very difficult to balance sport, study and a job.
“I’m going to have pay to get to the World University Games in South Korea as well but there is funding available through the University which means I get 75 per cent off the transport and £15 per night towards accommodation, so that will help massively.”