Exmouth’s Ben Lane has head held high

21:07 16 May 2012

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Exmouth badminton starlet Ben Lane insists he left the Sainsbury’s School Games with his head held high despite admitting to a Jekyll and Hyde outing in London.

The 14-year-old headed to the ExCeL – a London 2012 venue – having collected four medals at last year’s School Games, backed by National Lottery funding from Sport England.

However, hopes of a repeat performance in the capital were dashed on the first day of competition as Lane lost in the second round of the singles to England compatriot Chris Thompson, while he and Kyle Cherry lost their first boys’ doubles match to Scotland pair Robert Clarke and James Milton.

However, the Exmouth Community College pupil turned things around 24 hours later and collected the mixed doubles title alongside Jessica Pugh.

And despite admitting to disappointment of not improving on last year’s singles bronze, Lane is adamant his mixed doubles title proves it was a well worth trip.

“It feels good to win the mixed doubles because I went out of the singles so early so I am really happy with my performance,” he said.

I think I went out too early in the singles and I guess I was coming back to set it right and it felt good to win.

“It is different competing in the Excel because there are no other arenas like it. I don’t really know how to express my feeling when we won – it just feels great.

“Playing against guys two years older is a big confidence boost. I was happy overall with my performance and being the last tournament of the season it is nice to end it on a high.”

Lane was helping prepare the ExCeL for this summer’s Olympics, where the world’s best athletes will duke it out for boxing, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, fencing, table tennis and weightlifting gold.

But despite his young age the Visions Badminton Academy starlet isn’t ruling out kick-starting his own Olympic adventure later down the line.

“My ultimate dream is to win an Olympic medal one day, and I’m under no illusions as to how tough that will be,” he added,

“There are things to achieve before that though, such as getting towards a European Championship and trying to improve every chance I can.

“Badminton is a funny game because one injury can really have a decisive impact but if I can stay fit and keep on improving then I think I can keep growing as a player.”

The Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games was held at the Olympic Park and other venues from 6-9 May 2012 with school-aged elite athletes competing across 12 sports. Visit www.2012schoolgames.com for more information.

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