Local athlete Mark Leith has received the prestigious honour of being selected to represent his country at badminton at the forthcoming Home Nations U15 Quadrangular International, being staged at the National Badminton Academy at Glasgow’s Scotstoun International Sports Arena from April 27 to 29.
He follows in the footsteps of brother Sean and schoolmate Jacob Reynolds who played in the event last year at Milton Keynes. Mark’s selection is well deserved following a successful season and consistent performances in all three disciplines, singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
He currently holds the U15 Scottish national title for both doubles and mixed doubles losing out narrowly in gaining the treble following defeat in the final to doubles partner Alex Dunn. Other titles won during the season so far include doubles and mixed doubles at the U15 Midland, doubles at the East of Scotland, singles at the West of Scotland and also south of the border, despite being unseeded Mark picked up the singles title at the Badminton England U15 Gold event in York.
Mark, a member of the Scottish U16 National squad attends regular training sessions both locally and at the academy in Glasgow. He is currently sponsored by Carlton Dunlop International who provide clothing and equipment and has also received financial support from the Chris Anderson Trust, Sport Scotland and local company Maritime Scaffolding Limited, all of which has helped Mark to continue training in Glasgow and compete both in Scotland and further afield.
The Quad team comprises 5 boys and 5 girls from throughout Scotland and in the team event they can be selected to play in up to two disciplines in each match. Given Mark’s current national rankings, 2nd for singles and 1st for both doubles and mixed doubles it is not yet known which disciplines he will play but given that both his regular partners, Alex Dunn, Motherwell, and Julie Macpherson, Edinburgh, are also in the team he will be happy to compete at whatever discipline he is selected. Scotland’s first encounter will be against Ireland, whilst England faces Wales. Scotland will then take on Wales with their final match against England; all matches will be very competitive.
Last year Scotland were runners up to England and will be hoping to improve on that this year. Matches will commence following the opening ceremony on Friday morning with the team event being concluded on the Friday. The team event is then followed by an individual event held over Saturday and Sunday which will be equally as competitive as the team event given that the competitors are representing the top players of the home nations.
Eight of the team have recently returned from a trip to Belgium over Easter where they competed very well at the Olve Junior international, Julie bringing home the U15 singles titles and Mark and Alex losing out narrowly in a nail biting 3 set marathon in the semi-final of the U15 doubles.
Mark said that he was “looking forward to the event and was quite nervous but confident that the team can do well.” The event is open to the public and the team will hopefully be well supported in their home environment.