Tom Wolfenden is raedy for the new 2018 season. (Photo: BadmintonPhoto)
Tokyo is in Wolfenden's sights
Date: 1/16/2018 9:01 AM
Published by : David Grice
The start of a new year always brings hope and a lot of goals to achieve. For English men’s doubles player Tom Wolfenden, the task of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo starts now.

After an initial breakthrough year in 2015 with men’s doubles partner Peter Briggs, the 23-year old Liverpool native kicked further on with his first BWF Grand Prix title at the Canada Open, reaching their third BWF International Challenge final and is currently at a career high world ranking of 34. These results within the past year have seen them become one of the top 10 European men’s doubles pairs.

- 2017 was overall a good year for me and Peter, stated Wolfenden. - I would say 2017 was the best year in my career to date, especially after having a tough 2016 suffering with illness and injury. My personal highlights were definitely being, qualifying and reaching the second round on home soil at The All England as well as becoming National champions.

- My aims for 2018 are to keep improving individually and as a partnership. Progress in the rankings, picking up more tournament wins and beating higher ranked pairs.

A rocky start
Wolfenden’s pairing with Briggs has gone from strength to strength, after what was initially a rocky start. 

 - It’s a funny story with mine and Peters partnership. At first, we both really didn’t want to play together and thought that there is literally no way that we can work as a partnership. But we knuckled down, discussed our game at length and figured out how we could make it work. I think the moment when everything clicked was after a few months of playing together and we have continued to progress from then.

While ranking points and performances in the tournaments are essential, it is Olympics that is now in the sights of every player, including the Merseysider.

Motivation from Olympic bronze
With the success of British men’s doubles pair Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis collecting a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics still fresh in the memory of Wolfenden, his ultimate aim is to emulate those efforts.

- Langridge and Ellis getting a bronze in the Olympics was amazing for everyone involved in the sport in the UK. Although we lost our funding, that medal has motivated me and gave me even more belief that it could be me one day up on that Olympic Podium.

However, with the Olympics two and half years away, medalling at the World Championships in Nanjing in several month’s time and winning the All England are as much of an ultimate ambition as it is making it to the Olympics.

Inspiration from his family
But even while travelling the world, family is still always in his mind. Especially as he has his parents to thank for getting him started.

- I have great memories of playing in the local junior Badminton leagues back home. I was lucky enough that my parents loved the sport and would take me to the training sessions and all the matches. I also had my big brother playing in the older junior teams for Woodvale in Southport, which always inspired me to get better as I wanted to be better than him.

Wolfenden and Briggs will be looking to hit the ground running in 2018 and get some positive results in the lead up to the All England in March.

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