Badminton is in the genes of Wandsworth’s latest Olympic hopeful

Sibling rivalry is nothing new but for Wandsworth badminton player William Jones battles with his sister could be the key to his route to the top.

The 18-year-old is making steady progress in the world of rackets and shuttlecocks with experiences in the World Junior Championships already coming his way.

Indeed the positive performances have caught even the talented teen by surprise, reaching the fourth round of the boys doubles alongside Eddie van Leeuwen before losing to the top seeds in Canada.

But all of this may have passed him by had his family of shuttlers had not inspired him to give it a go himself.

“My dad started playing badminton when he was young, and he just thought he could try and get me and my sister into it,” explained the Kingston college student.

“I was just so competitive with her, and from then on it just went further and further and I improved quite quickly because of that competitiveness. It very much runs in the family.

“Getting to the last 16 of the World Junior Championships last November is probably my biggest achievement so far – I wasn’t expecting it so that’s what was so good about it.

“It gave me a lot of confidence going forward. There’s one more tournament this year which is the World Juniors again in October, and my aim is to get to at least the semi-final.

“I learn a lot from these major championships – it’s really good to see other countries and their cultures which are so different. It’s fantastic to go and see everywhere.

“My main aim for the next couple of years is to just get physically stronger. My long-term ambition is to play in the Olympics – it’s a big jump up but I think it’s doable.”

Jones was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted in partnership with GVC – the multi-national sports betting and gaming group – at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

GVC are supporting 50 athletes across 33 sports, with each one receiving a financial award and personal development opportunities through SportsAid, including support around nutrition, mentoring and media training.

Olympian Leon Taylor and Paralympian Millie Knight, who are both SportsAid alumni, were also on hand at the workshop to share their experiences of elite level sport.

And Taylor, who delivered a mentoring session, said: “I’ve been involved with SportsAid for many years as an ambassador and it started when I received a SportsAid award as a young athlete.

“I really know how much of a difference getting that recognition can make. I’m supporting the cause now as a retired athlete because I know what the journey is like.”

GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.

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