SCOTT EVANS – The Irish Hope

Scott Evans is Ireland’s premier badminton player and many out there know Scott Evans as the man who fought his way through qualifying of the Danish Super Series of 2007 […]

ImageScott Evans is Ireland’s premier badminton player and many out there know Scott Evans as the man who fought his way through qualifying of the Danish Super Series of 2007 to play Lin Dan in that explosive first round match. Mark Phelan is Scott’s webmaster and adviser, and invites you to discover more about this up-and-coming youngster.

By Mark Phelan. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Ireland is certainly not known for its badminton tradition. Its fame comes from rugby or its “Irish Coffee”. One man, however, is going against the odds, and with great success. Scott Evans was born in Dublin, Ireland and, like most professional badminton players of the modern era, first started playing badminton at a very early age. Scott made many regular trips to Whitehall Road, the hub of Irish badminton, with his brother to practise and train and it was there that he was spotted by Pat Marron, who started to Scott through his early teens. Scott’s talent developed and it was when he won the Leinster U19 open at the age of 14 that the badminton public really began to stand up and take notice. In January 2005, Scott decided to commit full time to the sport he loved so much and with the support of his family he moved to Denmark to train in the International Badminton Academy founded by Michael Kjeldsen, Peter Gade’s former . Scott spent a full year at the IBA in Denmark and it was on a trip to the Italian Open in 2006 and a chance meeting with Danish legend Jim Laugesen that things really started to change in Scott’s developing badminton career.

A friendship spawned between the two and Scott decided that Jim Laugesen was the man to help him move his career to the next level. Jim started to coach Scott shortly thereafter when Scott’s world was hovering around 115 in January 2007. The partnership started to bear fruit within the first few months of 2007 when Scott reached the final of the Croatian Open where he was beaten by Karl Baxter of England 21-13, 21-14.

ImageFirst International Scalps

August 2007 proved to be a pivotal month in the career of Scott Evans when he made it through to the second round of the World Championships by beating Eric Go in the 1st round and in the second round pushed the number 13 seed Muhd Hafiz B Hashim all the way before losing in 3 games. A trip to the US Open followed where Evans pulled off one of the shock defeats of 2007 by beating the number one seed and world #15 Shoji Sato from Japan in the first round. Scott narrowly lost out to Andrew Dabeka (Can) in the quarter-final 21-14, 10-21, 24-22 but gained many fans after the American loop of the trip.

Evans’s world ranking improved week after week and he has currently found a temporary level just inside the world’s top 50 shuttlers. Hampered by a niggling back injury, Scott has been unable to perform much on tour since August but did achieve a first in Irish badminton by winning his way through qualifiers of the Danish Super Series by beating New Zealand’s John Moody, India’s Anand Pawar, and the biggest scalp of all, former world number one Lee Hyun Il of Korea to lose out to eventual winner and current world number one Lin Dan of China in the first round proper. Most people will recall the passion and aggression shown by Evans in that match but what most people don’t remember or recall is the personal effort and sacrifice this young man from Dublin had invested into his career year after year to reach that level, and all with limited funding.

ImageOlympic Dream in Sight

What does the future hold, you may ask? The short-term goal for this young man from Dublin is to represent his country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, of which he is now 99.9% assured. Like all professionals, Scott Evans wants to go to Beijing to win as to settle for qualification is just not in this young man’s makeup. As he says himself “Failure is just not an option”.

In the long term, Scott wants to take his place amongst the world’s elite players and battle his way into the world’s top 16 and ultimately win his first major tournament. Scott also has one eye on the World Championships in London in 2011 and on the London Olympics the following year. It is without doubt that this young 20-year-old from Dublin, Ireland will be competing, training and doing everything in his power to make those games. One of Scott’s all time heroes is Lance Armstrong, the 7-time Tour De France winner and one of Armstrong’s quotes is evident on Evans website. It reads as follows:

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever.”

With an attitude and application to work and develop like he has I cannot see this young man from Dublin failing to achieve his dreams.

To find out more about Scott Evans, log onto his official website: http://www.scottevansirl.com or visit his blog.

About Mark Phelan