Potten End's Martin is all set for the Paralympic Games
Martin Rooke will head to Tokyo this month as part of ParalympicsGB's first-ever Para badminton squad
Martin Rooke will be heading out to Tokyo later this month as part of ParalympicsGB’s first-ever Para badminton squad
Badminton is one of two new events added to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games programme, alongside Para taekwondo.
Rooke, who is from Potten End, earned his place through successful bipartite applications, with such slots being awarded to ensure representation of athletes with high support needs, enable greater representation by gender, and ensure participation of top athletes who may not have had the opportunity to formally qualify through other methods.
Ranked third in the world, Rooke has claimed a multitude of international titles over the last decade including four European gold medals in each of the men’s singles and doubles events.
He will take his place in the men’s WH2 class.
He said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic that I will be part of the first-ever badminton Paralympic squad going to Tokyo 2020. It’s extremely overwhelming.
“The fact that all four players on the GB squad have booked their places on the plane for Tokyo is a testament to our team.
“We have an amazing group of players, coaches and backroom staff.
“I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their time, effort and help, but most of all my partner Ruth who is the catalyst for everything I do.”
Rooke has received the backing of Berkhamsted Rotary Club (berkorotary.org/) over the last five years and, in a statement, the club said: “Berkhamsted Rotary Club is delighted to learn that Potten End’s Martin Rooke has been added to ParalympicsGB’s first-ever Para badminton squad for the Tokyo Games this summer.
“The club has been behind Martin for the last five years and has provided financial support for the self-funding athlete.
“Ranked third in the world, Martin has won many international titles over the years including four European gold medals in men’s singles and doubles events.
“Martin won his place after beating his nearest rival, Israel’s Amir Levi, in May’s Spanish International and securing the necessary ranking points.”
And Richard Morris, GB Para badminton head coach, added: “I have honestly never been as happy and proud. We started this journey together and I’m super excited that we get to finish it in the same manner.
“All the players deserve this chance and as a unit we will be at our strongest. I can’t wait for the Games to begin.”
Rooke will head out to Tokyo on August 20 with the badminton competition due to start on September 1.