“I know it’s not going to be a cake-walk, but I am ready for Tokyo 2020.”
And if Shae Martin gets his way, Barbados will be represented in Badminton at the next Olympics. Shae, who has been a Badminton player for the past 14 years, said he had big dreams of reaching the pinnacle of sporting competition.
Introduced to the sport at just three years old by his dad, who is an international badminton official, Shae noted that once he put in the hard work, he knew he could reach there. “Tokyo 2020, I’m ready and I’m coming for it. I know it’s not gonna be easy; I know it’s not gonna be handed to me,” he said, “I know it’s gonna be a lot of hard work but I’m willing to put in the work.”
He said he believed that anyone could reach the Olympic level, but that it took a certain amount of determination and drive. He pointed out that local athletes must be willing to push themselves to the next level in order to compete with the world’s best, adding that it inspired him to see “a small li’l dot like Barbados compete at the Olympics”.
A past student of the Combermere School, the sixth-form St. Michael Secondary scholar said he wanted to see a Badminton programme implemented in schools to give students an alternative to the popular football, cricket and netball. He added that sports played an influential role in young people’s lives, and more ought to be done to expose them to all disciplines of sports.
Shae said he wanted to use the Barbados Olympic Association’s 50th Anniversary Independence Games as a platform to expose bajans to badminton and change their perception of the sport. “Barbadians should give it a chance; I think it’s a good way to get badminton on the minds of Barbadians,” he said, “I would like to help to put it up there as a sport to be taken seriously.”
Shae has racked up numerous badminton accolades, including Triple Champion in Boys’ Singles, Boys’ Doubles, and Mixed Doubles at the 2015 Barbados Junior National Championship, bronze in Mixed Doubles at the Senior Championship, and also reached the finals in the Men’s Singles, a feat which has never been accomplished by anyone under the age of 17. He also secured two gold medals, two silver and a bronze at the 2011 CARIBACO Championships in Aruba. Accomplishments he said he could not have obtained, had it not been for his love of badminton.
“I love sports. Sports is the other half of my life; sports is second nature to me,” Shae said, “Badminton is probably one of the wonders of the world. It’s a beautiful game.”