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March 5, 2024

How Australian badminton player Gronya Somerville made history at age 28

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 3:03 am

Professional badminton player Gronya Somerville is just 28 years old and has already made history.

She became the first Australian to win a Grand Prix title, succeeding at both the Canada Open and Dutch Open in the same year.

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Somerville is also a business owner, balancing her online training program, BADFIT, for badminton players, her sporting career and post-graduate studies in Sports Management.

Gronya Somerville

At just 12 years old, she joined a Talent Identification Program launched by Alisa Camplin that aimed to find the next Aussie badminton player, and from there her professional sporting career blossomed.

“I hit with a guy who was doing all these trick shots, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever and told my mum after that day that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I’d done tennis and athletics seriously, but I didn’t have the same passion that I had for badminton,” she tells 9honey Coach.

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A common frustration for badminton players is its lack of mainstream attention, though Somerville says the main issue is people’s perception of badminton.

“If they haven’t seen it at a high level, thinking it’s a slow and easy game, when it is one of the most dynamic sports with the fastest smash over 500km/h.”

Gronya Somerville

Though the prize money for badminton is significantly less than that of tennis, Somerville feels lucky to do what she loves. “I continue to compete for the love of the sport rather than prize money.”

Thankfully, the sport’s popularity is on the rise, with stadiums being nearly fully booked outside of work hours. Somerville says the more people see the sport, the more their interest in it grows.

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“It’s great to see the demand and the growing number of Aussies trying their hand at different sports on not only a competitive level but a recreational level.”

Upon finishing her Exercise Science degree, Somerville began to look for a way she could combine her experience as a sporting champion with a service that could help emerging badminton players and fund her tournaments for the Olympic year.

Gronya Somerville

“BADFIT is about creating a community of people who enjoy badminton, and I’m thrilled to bring people together who love the sport.”

“Being a part of a community can have huge benefits to mental and physical health and through my work with AIA Australia I have learnt the importance of the small things we can all do to deliver big benefits,” she says.

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Somerville has had a hectic year of travelling for competitions and training at home in preparation for this the Olympic Games Paris 2024, playing 25 tournaments that last roughly five days and take place in a different country each time.

“AIA champions doing something small for yourself every day, and I see real merit in making sure when my schedule gets busy, that I take some time each day to help myself mentally.”

“That would be anything from catching up with a friend on the phone for 15 minutes to going for a walk or doing some meditation.”

Gronya Somerville

As she prepares for the Olympic Games, Somerville’s training has ramped up, her qualifying period continuing till the end of April.

To secure some extra ranking points over the next two months, she will have “a lot” of tournaments to compete in, and afterwards, she will have an extended training period in Melbourne to prepare for the games.

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“I’m really looking forward to everything to come this year, from representing Australia in Paris, growing BADFIT, working as an AIA Ambassador and hopefully continuing to see badminton on the rise.”


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