I first became interested in badminton when I was 10 years old, sitting by the court, watching my father play for his local club.
My father, keen to nurture this early interest, enrolled me in a junior club. Over time, my hand/eye co-ordination improved and I became increasingly enthusiastic, taking part in junior tournaments and representing my area; this led to my receiving further training from the county school of excellence.
I will always be grateful to my parents for their time and support in these formative years, ferrying me to training and matches. At the time, I harboured thoughts of making a living out of the sport, but reality bit and it is now just a hobby, albeit one for which I have a lot of enthusiasm.
At medical school, I was fortunate enough to represent the university, which gave me an opportunity to make friends with students studying subjects other than medicine. The highlight of my university sporting career was captaining a victorious varsity match team (and enjoying the celebration dinner that followed).
Badminton helps to keep me fit and there is nothing like thrashing a shuttle after a hard day at work to tackle stress. I now play in several local leagues, once or twice a week, representing various clubs, and was recently in a cup-winning team.
Thankfully, my GP practice is helpful in trying to accommodate my badminton, drawing up my rota around training and matches as far as possible.
I would encourage anyone keen to take up a sport to give badminton a try, or to dust off their old racket if they haven't played for years. It is a relatively cheap and easy sport for anyone to take up and offers much enjoyment.
- Dr Baveja is a GP in Wakefield.