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James Van Hooijdonk earns Commonwealth call for Wales


Badminton teenager James Van Hooijdonk reveals his fighting spirit

Badminton rookie James van Hooijdonk was born in the Netherlands but will be "proud" to represent Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The 18-year-old 2009 Euro junior silver medalist will make his major senior bow in October for the land of his mother.

"To qualify for the Commonwealths is a great achievement and I'll be proud to represent Wales," van Hooijdonk said.

Player/coach Matthew Hughes, in his third Commonwealths, and Jonathan Morgan are Wales' best medal hopes.

Hughes, who has won 100 caps for his country in his 22-year career, is ranked 17th in the world and will not only hope to win a medal but pass on his vast experience to his young team.

Hughes, winner of 10 international tournaments, will be the experienced player in the seven-strong youthful squad alongside fellow 31-year-old Morgan who is ranked 41st in the world.

Team Wales Commonwealth Games logo

Morgan, the 2010 Croatian Open champion, reached the Commonwealth quarter-finals at the 2006 Games while team-mate James Phillips also reached the last eight in Melbourne.

Teenager van Hooijdonk, whose dad is Dutch and mum is Welsh, is the youngest member of the men's squad to travel to India as he looks to show the promise that earned him the 2009 European Junior title in Milan.

"This is an important milestone in my career," he told BBC Sport.

"It will be great to get big tournament experience and hopefully be a springboard to a good four years in the senior series afterwards.

"Then the hope is that will pumps my development ready for the 2014 Commonwealths in Glasgow."

Flintshire player Caroline Harvey is the second eldest member of the Welsh women's Commonwealth badminton. National Champion Carissa Turner is 21 and two-time national ladies singles champion Sarah Thomas is just 17.

Thomas, from Cardiff, is coached by former two-time Olympian Richard Vaughan who won Commonwealth bronze at the 2002 Games in Manchester.

And the promising youngster is already ranked inside the world's top 100 and competed in the 2008 Youth Commonwealth Games in India.

Wales' Commonwealth Games badminton team:

Name: Caroline Harvey
Date of birth: 9 September, 1991
From: Holywell
Event: Ladies doubles & mixed doubles
Achievements: 2007 World Championship team selection

Name: Jonathan Morgan
Date of birth: 20 May 1979
From: Gorseinon
Event: Men's doubles & mixed doubles
Achievements: 2006 Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist

Name: James Phillips
Date of birth: 13 May 1984
From: Swansea
Event: Men's doubles & mixed doubles
Achievements: 2006 Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist and 2010 national doubles champion

Name: Sarah Thomas
Date of birth: 17 November 1992
From: Cardiff
Event: Ladies singles & mixed doubles
Achievements: Won senior national singles champion twice

Name: Carissa Turner
Date of birth: 6 August 1989
From: Cardiff
Event: Ladies doubles
Achievements: National champion and world ranked 53

Name: James van Hooijdonk
Date of birth: 27 August 1991
From: Swansea
Event: Men's singles
Achievements: 2009 European Junior Championships silver medalist

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see also
Badminton calendar
27 May 09 |  Badminton
Badminton results
27 May 09 |  Badminton

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