Lloyd's a leading light in disability badminton!

Lloyd Crawley is 6 feet 7 inches tall and uses every inch of his frame as a very talented young badminton layer who has represented Wales at a whole range of disability festivals, including the World Games, which were held in Los Angeles, where he was part of the UK squad.

Memorable moments in Los Angeles

Lloyd Crawley ready for action"It was amazing," Lloyd told us, “because there were massive crowds to watch and the singer in the opening ceremony was Angela Levine - and another special guest was Stevie Wonder, who is himself disabled as blind singer.
"Michelle Obama, the wife of the USA's previous president, was also there to support the games and when we were allowed into the VIP area I was interviewed for their national television.
“Then when I won a gold medal in my singles event I could hear the crowd chanting my name like a film star and when they played the national anthem and they raised the Union Jack there was a big lump in my throat."
Not content with winning his individual gold medal Lloyd also picked up a silver medal in the doubles and a bronze in the mixed doubles.
"It was a competition that I will never forget," admitted Lloyd, "and I even had my photograph taken with some of the stars of MTV!"

Working hard in college too

He is currently studying at Plas Dwbl in Maenachlogddu and stays at one of the college's houses in Eglwyswrw, where his medals for the World Olympic Special Games take pride of place.
Lloyd originally hails from Powys and he came to Plas Dwbl to study Biodynamic Horticulture on their 100-acre farm, where one of his support workers is Joe Collins, who told us,
"Our students train in copper work, basket work and with other natural materials that we call 'Green Woodwork', which is working with those natural materials to produce things like chairs and household utensils.
"Lloyd is a keen student and shows the same commitment to his studies as he does to his badminton."

Early start in Powys

Lloyd first set out in the game in 2003 as a seven year old back at home after attending a special needs 'taster session' where he took to badminton like the proverbial duck to water and was immediately looking at home on court.
After a short while he was doing so well that he was invited to join the Welsh Development Squad and really benefitted from the coaching expertise of Peter Egan, the coach from Special Olympics Wales, whose son Kevin has since become his doubles partner.
"I have really improved with Peter's support," said Lloyd, "and in 2009 my game took a huge step forward.

First Welsh recognition

"I was chosen for the Welsh team to play in the UK Disability Championships in Leicester, after winning one of the regional tournaments, and I was really proud to pull on my Welsh kit for the first time.
"It was a real step up in standard but I was pleased with the way I played and came away with a bronze medal in the singles and a silver in the mixed doubles."
Lloyd's hard work continued to pay off as he gained in experience and confidence and in 2013 he represented Wales in the National Disability Games in Bath, again in front of large, enthusiastic crowds, and came home with the coveted gold medal in the singles and a silver in the doubles with his old pal Kevin.
As well as these impressive performances, Lloyd has also claimed more than his fair share of success in championships, traditionally held at the National Centre of Excellence in Sophia Gardens, in Cardiff.

Next new challenge awaits

The next big challenge for Lloyd now comes later this month, when the UK National Disability Championships are again held, but this time in Sheffield.
"I've already received my Welsh tracksuit that is issued for every sport, plus my sports-specific kit that includes a red racquet bag with my name on it.
"I can't wait for the tournament to come," said Lloyd, "and I'm training hard on court, using my Yonex racquet, and I'm also going to the local sports centre in Crymych so I can build up my cardio-vascular strength."

Lloyd trying out wheelchair rugbyOther sports

Outside of his badminton, Lloyd has enjoyed a range of other sports that includes football with the Cleddau Warriors, where he uses his aerial power to good effect at both ends of the pitch, defending well at the back and then joining the Warriors’ attack for set-pieces and nodding in more than his fair share of goals.
Lloyd was also a useful swimmer in his younger days and is thinking of trying out the 400 metres in athletics – when he finds time off from his studies and his badminton!

People to thank

Ask Lloyd for people who have given him support along the way and he would be quick to nominate his mum Angela, whom he says has driven him hundreds of miles so that he could practise or compete – and is always ready to encourage and suggest possible ways of making improvements.
Then there is Martin Kelly, of Sport Powys, when he’s been back home there, plus Joe Collins as a support worker alongside all the others who help him at Coleg Dwbl.
“I love playing badminton and I look forward to my training sessions on a Monday evening in Pembroke, and whenever else I can get a game.

And finally . . .

“I know my height helps because my smash down the court is powerful, and I’ve really worked hard to improve my footwork and speed about the court.
“It also helps that I can get from the middle of the court to the front or back in just two steps,” adds Lloyd with a typical chuckle!
His ambition is to represent the UK again at the World Festival of Disability Olympics, which will be held next in Abu Dhabi.
It is another challenge that Lloyd Crawley relishes and judging by his commitment and high skill levels it must only be a matter of time before this modest and unassuming young badminton player achieves his goal!