Monday, September 27, 2021
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Spotlight: Shawn Fendi | Badminton England

Shawn Fendi doesn’t fear anyone in the men’s Olympic doubles draw – and he plays that way.

Sean, born in Kirkwall, Scotland, first hit the shuttle at the age of five before moving to England at the age of seven.

Backed by coach Nathan Robertson, who won silver with Jill Eames in the mixed doubles at Athens 2004, Sean and partner Ben Lane set their initial sights on Paris 2024.

But with Tokyo 2020 just weeks away, Shaun, who was a torchbearer at London 2012, heads to Japan feeling the pressure is already over for him and Ben.

He said: “If you look back at the past Olympics, there were always shocking medalists. Anything can happen – it’s a huge stage and it’s the biggest stage we have as badminton players.

“This pressure can affect people differently and it usually affects those at the top, who are the ones who are under stress.

“We beat all the top players in the lottery and pushed everyone pretty well. So we have a good record against the players going and we feel like the pressure is off.”

Holding the Olympics is the result of years and years of dedication and training.

Sean and Ben made their world tour debut in 2012, which means their Olympic selection is the culmination of nine years on the court together.

The 25-year-old admits that he had dreamed of winning a medal for Team GB since his childhood.

Sean said, “It would be great to get a medal. That was our dream when we were kids.

“It was always an Olympic medal.

“Now we’re on stage where we can get one, and I just hope we can give our best.”

COVID-19 has thrown the entire world into chaos, with global athletes in particular having to adapt their daily routines.

With the restrictions currently in place for Tokyo 2020, it promises to be a completely different Games.

Shaun admits that it can feel a little strange when he and Lynn step onto the playground, and he thinks they’ve adapted well to life behind closed doors. This was shown in their form at the highest level, particularly at the Super 1000 events held in Bangkok in January.

Sean said: “It was great to be back in training well and early with the government’s approval.

“There have been strict protocols in place to prevent everyone from contracting or transmitting COVID and we have not had an outbreak ever since we started training.

“We haven’t had any issues at all and we’ve been playing tournaments since October 2020, so we’re kind of used to playing behind closed doors now.

“Obviously there are no fans in Tokyo, but I don’t think that might distract us or change our focus because we’re there to do something and that’s playing badminton.”

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