An 11-year-old badminton player from Caerphilly has set her sights on being a future Olympian
Saffron Morris has recently qualified to compete in competitions with senior players and says her aim is reach the 2022 Commonwealth Games and one day the Olympics.
Saffron, who has already won more than 70 trophies and medals, said: “It would be a great experience to compete with the best players.
“The player I look up to the most is Carolina Marin.”
She currently trains at Penarth Badminton Club, which is reserved for seniors.
Saffron competes in singles, mixed and doubles, and is currently unbeaten in the Cardiff and District senior league this season.
Badminton players are ranked on a scale, with A being the highest and J being the lowest. Currently, Saffron is a D grade and is aiming to excel further up the ranks.
At a recent Under 13s Gold Star event in Cheltenham, Saffron won gold in the doubles competition. She has competed at events across the UK and has even competed at a competition in Belgium.
Saffron regularly competes in Under 15, Under 17 and Under 19 events, winning a silver medal at an Under 19s event when she was just nine-years-old
Saffron told Caerphilly Observer: “I like fast sports and with badminton, you can get really active.”
But the 11-year-old is not just a badminton player – she has also tried her hand at gymnastics, football, netball, dancing, hockey, taekwondo and much more.
Saffron has recently started doing yoga to improve her performance on the badminton court.
She said: “I’ve been doing yoga to improve my badminton skills. It helps with my flexibility and mind-set – it helps me stay calm on the court.”
Saffron’s yoga instructor, Diana Brook, said: “There’s so many benefits to yoga. It helps concentration, focus, mindset, stability and flexibility.
“It helps bring the mind and body together and builds fundamental skills needed to compete at an elite level.”
Ms Brook, who runs Diana Brook Yoga With Soul on Western Industrial Estate in Caerphilly, added: “Yoga is good for injury prevention. Ankle, knee, hip and shoulder injuries are all common in badminton, so the conditioning element is essential.”
Saffron’s mother and coach, Rachel Morris, said: “I’m very proud of her. As soon as she saw the badminton rackets she wanted to play.
“Me and my husband were a bit reluctant at first as were taking a break from badminton. We never really planned to get her into the sport but she just wanted to.”
She added: “Saffron’s so competitive at everything she does, so the yoga gives her a chance to calm down.”