For Toby Penty, taking part in the TOTAL BWF World Championships is about more than just badminton. In fact, according to the 25-year-old, competing at these major tournaments has made him a man.
Penty came away frustrated from his 21-13 10-21 21-14 loss to Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, but was glad to have the opportunity to play on home soil once more.
Facing the sixth seed Chou was never going to be an easy task, but it looked as though the tables had turned when the Englishman stormed to an eleven-point lead in the second set.
The Asian’s experience shone through in the final set, though, but Penty is certain that the only way is up.
“It was frustrating, in the first set I was just paying him a bit too much respect and didn’t quite play at a high enough pace,” he said.
“The second set was a lot better, I had a good talk with my coach and he told me I needed to use my speed, especially at the front.
“His experience just told the tale in the end, I got a bit overexcited in that third set.
“He’s number six in the world, so he’s probably the highest-ranked player I’ve taken to three sets.
“In 2017, I’ve been competing against much higher players and beaten a few and been very close with others, having match points or being really competitive over three sets.
“I’m certainly starting to climb the ladder but there’s still a lot more rungs on it to go.”
More than 40 nations have descended on Glasgow’s Emirates Arena for the event, the third time the World Championships have visited the city since 1997.
It was Penty’s second World Championship appearance in the UK, as he also competed when the competition visited London in 2011, and the shuttler turned reflective as he looked back on his early career.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play two World Championships on British soil, one in Wembley when I was 19 and one here at the age of 25,” he added.
“It was a great crowd for a second day and I felt like for the first one I was a boy and now I’ve started to grow into a man.
“Having my family and friends here today was a massive help, because you just feel there’s a real push from people who want you to do well and that’s a big incentive.
“I was up for playing such a big player on such a big occasion, it was a massive thing for me.
“Even though I’m disappointed, I am happy that I put on a good account of myself – I want to be the best I can be.”
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 is being staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August. It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport. Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets
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