oh yes, i was confusing that, because he attended swiss junior and belgian junior. he is born 1999 and won swiss junior u17 (oldest people playing there are 1996, so 3 years older than him, which is a huge difference at this age). i will remove him from the list though next time.
LEO GRAY talks to Jonathan Dolan, Sligo’s rising young badminton star Jonathan Dolan from Faughts Lane, Calry, has become one of the youngest ever players to be chosen for the Irish senior team and will represent his country at the European Championships in Russia later this month. His step up to the senior international ranks follows an outstanding performance at the World Junior Championships in Japan where he reached the last sixteen before going out to number one seed and eventual champion, Viktor Vickoraxelsen from Denmark [correction: Viktor Axelsen, former WJC and 2012 Quarter-finalist]. He is currently ranked number 9 junior in the World. He will be part of a six strong team travelling to Russia, with Olympians Scott Evans and Chloe McGee also included in the squad. Dolan, a member of the badminton section at Sligo Tennis Club, will partner Sam McGee in the doubles event at the Championships and is hopeful of a big performance on his senior international debut.Ireland are drawn in group six along with France, Finland and Israel. “We’re not seeded but I think we have a good chance of at least making the quarter-finals”, he maintains. While participation in the European senior championships is the highlight of his career to date, Dolan has already registered several landmark achievements. He won the Bulgarian Under 19 international tournament last year and also has a string of Irish national singles and doubles titles to his credit. He has won several Provincial Open titles and an English Gold championship. He had a taste of full-time professional badminton last year, moving to Dublin to concentrate exclusively on his career. The training regime was intense, with 6.30am sessions five days a week, as well as afternoon and evening training.It was a real learning experience but he decided to return to school to continue his studies.He will sit his Leaving Cert at St. Clare’s Comprehensvie School, Manorhamilton, this summer. “My ambition is to play badminton professionally but I realise that it’s important to have some educational back-up”, he explains. “So I made the decision to come back and do my Leaving Cert. After that, I will concentrate on badminton and try to move up the senior ranks” Getting a call-up to the senior squad will, he says, help to improve his game while the trip to Russia will also give him an opportunity to meet up with some of the world’s top players.“I was in Japan before Christmas and now I’m off to Russia.It’s very exciting and it will be great to meet the best players in the world again, many of whom I’ve come quite friendly with over the years” With two Olympians in the squad travelling to Russia later this month, Dolan will learn from their experience and follow his own Olympic dream. “I’ve got to the stage now where I am playing with Irish Olympians so naturally the prospect of making the Irish team for the next Olympics in Rio is a target”, he points out. He accepts that if he is serious about going into the full-time professional ranks, he will have to move abroad.The sport is huge in Asia and England but Denmark is Dolan’s preferred destination.Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Denmark and the Sligo student feels his career could really flourish there. A talented swimmer, Gaelic footballer and soccer player, Dolan was hooked on badminton after his uncle, John, took him to watch a game at Sligo Tennis Club. “I was nine years old at the time”, he recalls. “My uncle was babysitting me and thought it would be a good idea to take me to watch some badminton. “I was hooked straight away. I enjoyed playing other sports but when it came to making a decision on which one I was going to take seriously, there was only one winner. “My friends often tried to persuade me to stick with GAA or soccer but badminton was trhe sport I really wanted to pursue” His uncle was a valued mentor and coach in his early career and later Irish senior coach, Daniel McGee, helped develop his game.
Now, with the support and ecouragement of his Mum and Dad, Jackie and Paul, and his brothers, Mark and Daniel, Dolan is now poised to fulfill his boyhood ambitions.