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Krysten Coombs: A real game-changer

7/10/2020 10:04 AM | |  BEC staff

Just as the BWF tournament schedule went into its own ‘lockdown’, we spoke to the 2018 European Para Badminton Championships silver medallist, Krysten Coombs, on how he is adapting to the news. Here we learn about what he plans post-career, as well as the here and now. 

The England and Team GB player says that although he is very focused on the Paralympics, he has thought about the next stages of his life. Despite featuring in an episode of Game of Thrones in 2014, he is attracted to other industries.

- I have been thinking about a few different options. Obviously, I will look at staying in sport and see what sort of positions might be around when I get to that point. I have always loved the idea of property development, so that is something I’m potentially interested in – maybe even real estate. Something to do with the property market would be great. I was also very practically minded in school. I loved doing physical work, and I would love to keep being challenged as I have been in badminton. The idea of going down a different avenue and looking into a trade is something I could potentially see myself doing. Also, before I was funded, I was working at Ikea part-time and loved the team there. Part of their system is that people can take a career break, which I’ve done, which was really helpful, and I really enjoyed the physical work involved there as well, so the possibility of returning to the team and building a career there is something I’ve thought of. Plus, once things are a bit more settled, my girlfriend and I are looking toward a future together and what that might bring, so there is plenty to look forward to all round.

Coombs certainly has an exciting future ahead whatever he chooses to do. He mentioned that staying within the sport is an option. Expanding on this, he said.

- Being a sporty guy, I would love to stay in the industry if there was the possibility of a suitable position. It is hard to say at the moment what that might look like because the profile of Para badminton has changed so rapidly in recent years. It will likely develop beyond what it is now after being part of the 2020 Paralympics, so I am excited to see that happen and to see what that means for the sport. But if it was possible to stay in Para badminton and perhaps find a role where I can bring my experience to a position where I can directly support the team, that would be brilliant.

Read: Krysten Coombs: Plans have been put on hold

The here and now

Coombs is a versatile Para badminton player in that we have seen him doing well in both men’s singles and doubles. Discussing his main focus, Coombs explains.

- The men’s singles has been my main focus for the qualifying year as only SH6 men’s singles will be played at the 2020 Paralympic Games. Also given that my funding is to get me to the Paralympics as well, ingles has really been the main focus this year.

Lastly, in a promising move, we saw that Para badminton in England received quite a funding boost over the past four to six years. Describing what this actually means for top European players like Coombs and the daily life as a badminton player, he states.

- Yes, I have had generous funding from UK Sport, which has been really helpful and a real game-changer. I’d been self-funding since I first started going to international tournaments in 2008, so trying to balance training with work was difficult and the funding has made a huge difference to that. Now I can focus on badminton full-time and it is my actual job. I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete, so it’s a dream come true. On top of that, it’s given me the opportunity to be a part of a professional team with all the infrastructure. Thanks to that funding we have full-time coaches and support staff available to us in areas like strength and conditioning, lifestyle, physio, psychology, nutrition – all of which is hugely beneficial.

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