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Jillie Cooper - Everything I’m doing is laying the foundations for Glasgow 2014

Delhi 2010, Jilli Cooper, Paul Van Rietvelde

It’s all about making sure I’m at my fittest, strongest and fastest, allowing me to be the best that I can be for the Games in 2014.

I started playing badminton when I was in primary four at Buckstone Primary School in Edinburgh. I was basically there to make up the numbers and I ended up having so much fun and beating all the older girls. From then on, I got into the school team and it just went from there really.

I left school at 18 and started training full time. For the first few years I was in Scotland until the Great Britain programme was set up and I moved down to Milton Keynes, where I trained for 2 years before moving back up to Scotland in April 2010. I’ve been up in Scotland since then and I’m loving it, training twice a day, five days a week at the National Badminton Academy at Scotstoun. It’s so good being back in Scotland training and having all my friends and family nearby.

I remember watching both the Manchester and Melbourne Commonwealth Games on TV and then last year I was at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect from a multi-sport event because obviously when we travel with Scotland it’s just us but Delhi was amazing. We all lived in the same block as Team Scotland and I couldn’t believe the scale of it, we didn’t get to go to the Opening Ceremony because we were competing the next day but we went to the Closing ceremony which was really great to be a part of.

The whole thing was a really great experience. We were a young badminton team, the majority of us were in our late teens and early twenties. It was all about learning and getting the experience, whereas now for Glasgow 2014 we expect to deliver.

Glasgow 2014 will mean everything to me. In Delhi, where badminton is such a popular sport, we were lucky that our event was sold out, so we’ve experienced that intense atmosphere. Obviously Glasgow 2014 will be much bigger and better for us because we’re at home and we’ll be in the spotlight.

My goal for 2014 is to win a medal, definitely. To do that in Glasgow I think would be the pinnacle of my career. Winning at home is so much more special than winning abroad because you can share it with everything. It’s a daily focus when I’m working through tough training. With the current players in the system and the coaches we’ve got I think it’s definitely achievable for us.

We’re on home soil, anything is possible.

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