The Isle of Man has a long history of representation in badminton at Commonwealth level with the first Manx players taking part at the 1970 Edinburgh Games. The three players making up the Manx squad for Glasgow 2014 form the most experienced team the Island has put forward to date, with all of the members having benefited from playing at English competition level whilst undertaking further education in the UK.
Cristen Marritt (nee Callow) – Cristen took part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, reaching the last 16 in the singles competition. Currently ranked 11th by Badminton England in the mixed doubles (where she is partnered by husband Alex Marritt) and 38th in the women’s singles, Cristen won a gold and silver at the Island Games in Bermuda last year. She also reached the quarter finals of the 2013 English National Badminton Championships. Cristen, 25, currently works in England as a sports coach having completed a Sports Science degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. Cristen will compete in the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles at Glasgow.
Benjamin Li – 21-year-old Ben has represented the Isle of Man in the 2008 and 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games and had the honour of carrying the Manx flag at the 2011 Games here on the Isle of Man. Ben won two silvers and a bronze at the 2013 Bermuda Island Games and had also collected a bronze in the 2011 Island Games held in the Isle of Wight. Ben has just finished studying for a degree in Maths at Warwick University and will compete in the men’s singles and mixed doubles.
Kimberley Clague – Kim competes with Cristen in the women’s doubles at Glasgow 2014 and will also take part in the women’s singles event. This will be a second Commonwealth Games outing for 25-year-old Kim who represented the Isle of Man in Delhi 2010. Now working as a tax adviser for Baker Tilly in Nottingham, Kim won a full suite of gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2013 Bermuda Island Games, improving on her two bronze medals from the 2011 Isle of Wight Island Games.
Team Manager for the Isle of Man badminton squad is Frank Anderson. Frank has a lengthy association with the Commonwealth Games, first acting as Badminton Team Manager in the Edinburgh 1986 games and as office manager for the 1994, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Manchester and Melbourne respectively. He has also managed the Isle of Man badminton team at four Island Games. Along with his wife Pat, Frank was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Isle of Man Sports Awards earlier this year.
Frank is assisted by 16-year-old Jessica Li, who only narrowly missed out on qualifying for Glasgow 2014 herself. She is a triple Isle of Man Under 17 Champion as well as a triple Isle of Man Senior restricted champion and winner of both the Under 19 girls singles and doubles. Her role as assistant manager will give her valuable insight and experience for potential participation as a competitor in future Commonwealth Games.
Badminton is a hotly contested sport at Commonwealth level with strong competition from nations such as England, Australia, India, Malaysia and Singapore. “Our goals are to improve on past results and progress through the rounds as far as we can,” says Frank. “All Team Isle of Man members are experienced players and will be hoping for a good competition draw. I know they will all do their very best to make their Island proud.”
The Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association is the organisation responsible for the publicity, fundraising, travel, and support for Team Isle of Man’s participation at the Commonwealth Games. It is a registered charity (No.644) and relies upon fundraising events and donations to fund the team. Find out about fundraising initiatives planned in the countdown to Glasgow 2014 at www.cga.im where you can also make donations.