A JUNIOR badminton player from Ponteland is celebrating her success on the courts.

14-year-old Lucy Dodd was recently selected to play for England U15s in the European 8 Nations, having previously achieved gold medal success in her first appearance for the national U15 team.

She also plays for the Northumberland County Senior 1st team, where she has won six of her eight matches played to date.

Lucy started playing badminton in Year 4 and by eight years old was competing in U13 county matches.

Now in Year 10, Lucy is studying for her GCSEs at Dame Allan's Schools in Newcastle, which she will sit next year.

Lucy was instrumental in the creation of a school badminton club and helps train other pupils.

Despite her success, Lucy has remained grounded.

She said: “I try not to focus on the winning; some of my greatest achievements have been when I’ve made significant improvements or felt proud of how I’ve played against a much better opponent.

“It is important to balance my badminton success with the rest of my life. I want to play at a level I find enjoyable, yet challenging, while also having time for school and friends.”

The talented player has already attended two Badminton England Junior Pathway training camps this year and won two medals at a recent national U17 Gold tournament. In September, she played for England in the Junior Quadrangular tournament, and in November won three bronze medals at the U15 Nationals. 

Lucy said: “It was fantastic to get back to tournaments last year after Covid. I had set myself a dream of an England team place and was delighted to be selected.

“I was very proud to put my England kit on, and equally pleased to come back with a team win and two individual gold medals! But it was the team spirit and the friendships I developed that really made it for me.”

In December, Sport Tynedale awarded Lucy the Stan Calvert Scholarship, which is given to a young player who displays excellence in their chosen sport, to help further develop their potential. 

Lucy, who has received assistance from Sport Newcastle and The Bernicia Foundation, said: “With matches, tournaments and England commitments, I’m away sometimes three in every four weekends, then with training on top of that, I dedicate up to 20-hours-a-week to badminton. Most of my training is at Tyneside Badminton Centre which is a fantastic local facility.

“Thankfully, I have had so much support from the people around me – my family, friends, the school, teammates and coaches - and that means a lot.”