Cranfield badminton player Harry Huang has been busy making a name for himself on the court this year but there could yet be further success after he was nominated for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award.
Back in February Harry showed signs of his developing potential with singles gold and doubles silver at the European Under-15s Championships in Kazan, Russia.
This went alongside his singles, doubles and mixed doubles gold at the English Under-15s National Championships and singles and doubles silver at the English Under-17s National Championships.
Currently ranked number one in Europe at age-group level, Harry has certainly been making sure to catch the attention of those in the know, as shown by his latest nomination.
SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award was launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist Tom Daley the inaugural winner, with six of the 10 recipients competing at the Rio Games this summer.
And Wootton Upper School pupil Harry, who is a part of the SSE Next Generation programme, is now in line to join such illustrious company as one of 10 nominees selected from over 1,100 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports.
The winner will be presented at the charity’s annual SportsBall on November 24, and Harry admitted taking the gong home would be the perfect end to a dream season.
“I was quite surprised to be on the list, I was not expecting to be chosen so it’s a great honour,” he said. “It puts a bit of expectation on me going forward but I don’t mind it. There has been some big names who have been on this list and gone on to do well so I’m hopeful of doing the same.
"SportsAid and SSE have been so supportive of me. The workshops in particular have really helped me to become a more mature athlete and a better educated athlete. The funding has obviously been really helpful - it has helped me with my training and getting to competitions. I’m very grateful.”
“One of the highlights for me this year has got to be the European Under-15s Championships in Kazan. That was a really good experience but I also got to the final of the Under-17 National Championships which was a competition where people were up to two years older than me.
“I train at Milton Keynes and the elite players are often there so it’s good to train alongside them. You can see what they are doing, and just how they are physically and mentally stronger, so that’s something to aim for.”
Harry paid close attention to the events unfolding in the badminton competition at this summer’s Olympic Games, where British duo Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won an historic bronze in the men’s doubles.
And with a number of British Olympians training at the same base as Harry in Milton Keynes, he knows he couldn’t be better placed for trying to achieve his own dream of one day making the Olympic Games.
“I was introduced to badminton when I was around six or seven and it’s something I really enjoy,” he added. “Obviously it’s good to win but you also get to go to lots of different places and meet new people so it’s a lot of fun.
“Next year I will have the Nationals again and I want to keep on improving. You see the elite guys at Milton Keynes and they are able to read the game that little bit better so that is what I need to aspire to.”
The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s 40th anniversary SportsBall in London on Thursday 24 November. All funds raised from the SportsBall helps to support the next generation of British athletes. Please visit the SportsBall website for tickets.