Badminton: European junior champion Ben Lane after world title

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Lane aiming for world title glory

They might be six years away, but one young English badminton player is already targeting the 2020 Olympics.

Sixteen-year-old Ben Lane, from Exmouth in Devon, has won gold medals in the men's and mixed doubles at the European Under-17 championships in Turkey.

He's now setting his sights on April's World Under-19 championships in Malaysia, even though he is three years younger than some of those taking part.

"My long-term goal is to get an Olympic medal," he told BBC Sport.

"Just to qualify for the Olympics would be a massive achievement, but an Olympic medal is every sportsperson's dream.

"Rio is a bit too early, but Tokyo in 2020 is a good thing to aim for," Lane added.

Ben's confidence comes with good backing - he has previously taken gold at European Under-15 level.

He also comes from good badminton stock - his brother Alex is a former European Under-17 champion and trains with the national team, while his mother Suzanne is a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the sport.

"Ben has always been quite good with the tactical side of the game, he reads the game well and that's difficult to teach a player," she said.

"But in the last couple of years he's lacked in fitness, but he's worked really hard at his fitness."

And that work appears to have paid off after Ben won two golds and a team silver medal earlier this month in Turkey - and he's aiming for more success in Malaysia:

"It's an Under-19 event and I'm 16-years-old, but I wouldn't say I'm just going for the experience.

"My main goal is to see where I am against all the Asian players and hopefully two years after go for a medal."

And if the prospect of becoming the world's best wasn't enough, he's also got the rivalry with his older brother to spur him on.

"It's always tough following in your brother's footsteps so he's done exceedingly well," Suzanne, their mother, said.

"It's lovely to see them enjoying what they're doing but to be successful at it as well is an added bonus.

"I think the rivalry does help them as they're quite close in age so it spurs Ben on to beat his older brother."

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