Schools badminton: MP’s letter puts extra pressure on Farnood

Michael Farnood (Corstorphine Primary School) faced a great deal of pressure when he lined up in the Scottish National Under-11 Championships at Scotstoun in Glasgow.

The Edinburgh ten-year-old was not only trying to follow in the footsteps of sister, Lily, the 2011 girls’ singles champion but he had also received a surprise ‘good luck’ letter from his local MP, Mike Crockhart.

However, the youngster more than met everyone’s expectations. As No 2 seed, he reached the final of the boys’ singles and gave favourite Adam Pringle (Carolside Primary School) a close match before losing 15-21. He then turned the tables by winning the boys’ doubles title. Alongside Colin Taylor (Glasgow Academy), the underdogs beat Pringle and Colin Chan (Notre Dames) 21-14.

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Michael and Lily both started playing badminton four years ago under coach Bob McKay at a club at Forrester High School. Now they are members of the Scottish National under-13 squad headed by Diana Koleva, Julie Hogg and Karen Stalker.

“They train four times a week and every Saturday at Scotstoun,” explained the talented duo’s father, Farhad. “It is really tough because they are constantly being reviewed.

“Michael was amazed when he got the letter from his MP. It was very kind but it did put a little extra pressure on his shoulders.”

After the summer holidays, Lily will be moving from Corstorphine Primary to the Royal High School – and she will have some good company. Royal High sisters, Heather and Julie McPherson, were members of the Scottish team that took part in this month’s Sainsbury’s UK School Games in London.

In the Under-11 Championships, Rachel Sugden (Jamestown High School) lived up to her billing as the No 1 seed in the girls’ singles when she won the final 21-7 against Rachel Andrew (George Watson’s College).

But Rachel Andrew got her hands on the doubles title. She teamed up with Maria Leith (Mill O’ Forrest Primary School) to defeat Rachel Sugden and Abbie Nicol (Reston Primary School) 21-12.

Anne Smillie, chief executive of BadmintonScotland, said: “It is great to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment from this youngest of our age group contenders and shows the strength of badminton throughout the country.”