Fenland badminton star ‘blown away’ after triumphing at first international tournament

TEENAGE badminton star Beth Parrish has triumphed at her first international tournament - 11 years after her grandfather taught her how to play the sport.

The 17-year-old, from March, took up badminton when she was just six years old, under the guidance of her grandfather and coach Colin Bedford.

And the Cambridgeshire Badminton Academy talent has now recorded the biggest victory of her career - winning the ladies’ singles title at a tournament in Tielt, Belgium.

Parrish said: “This has absolutely blown me away because I really didn’t know what to expect before I went out there.

“I just went for the experience of my first international tournament - but I’ve come back a winner.”

The Neale-Wade Community College student dominated her category, beating six opponents and dropping just one set on her way to glory.

She said: “I was really nervous because there were hundreds of people watching but I got more confident when I started winning. In the second round I won one set 21-2.

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“I went behind in the final, which made the second set the biggest set of badminton I have every played in my life.

“I beat her 21-14 to take it to a decider and then I thought to myself: ‘I need to win this’. I won the third set 21-9. It was amazing.”

Parrish, who still attends her grandfather’s coaching sessions, now plans to compete in more international tournaments, including ranking events.

Mr Bedford, who still runs three badminton classes a week in March, said: “This will be my 35th year of coaching badminton and Beth winning is the perfect way to celebrate.

“I started teaching Beth after school and then we gradually built it up. I’m so proud of her - to win your first ever international tournament is an amazing achievement.

“Badminton really does run in the family, four of us even coach the sport now!”