A TEENAGE badminton protege from Kirkcaldy is continuing a family tradition after being picked for the national training squad.
Fraser Haldane (15) is following in the footsteps of dad Gordon and aunt Jillian, both past internationalists who represented Scotland at world and European Championships, including the Commonwealth Games.
But while badminton runs in the Haldane family, a young Fraser just wanted to run, as his father explained.
“He was a good athlete growing up, one of country’s top young sprinters and long jumpers,” Gordon said. “But with the family connections he’s just got into badminton over the last four or five years.
“It’s not something he was pushed into, he’s just fallen into it and wanted to play – which has been great – and athletics has gone by the way side.
“All the hard work he’s put in over the last few years is now starting to bear fruit.”
Fraser trains with his dad and aunt up to six times a week, and the hard work was rewarded recently when he received a call-up to train with the Scotland East junior squad following good results in the Midlands Open tournament.
Fraser explained: “It’s really interesting being coached by my dad. I just try to pick up as much as I can from him, and beat him in training games!
“I’m hoping to follow in his footsteps, and maybe even do even better. It would be great to get to the Commonwealth Games, or even the Olympics one day.
“I’ve got the under 17 nationals coming up in March which is a big one for my age group so I’ll be hoping to do well in that.”
His father is keen to help him achieve his goals.
Gordon added: “Fraser’s got a great attitude and work rate, and his improvements have been good.
“He’s a pleasure to work with - most of the time!
“There are opportunities there for him, but a lot of it depends on how hard he is willing to work at the game.
“He’s also a relative latecomer as most of the kids he’s up against have been playing in tournaments since they were 11-years-old.
“He’s got a lot of catching up to do, but if he keeps working hard the potential is there for him to do that.”
Both Gordon and Jillian run a training cell at Balwearie High School as they bid to bring young talent through from the local area.
They are also coaching two young Fife sisters – Sophie and Hannah Morrison – who are developing into the top girls in their age group.
Gordon said: “Badminton in Scotland is struggling like a lot of sports are just now with the lack of interest kids have at the moment.
“It’s suffering at the moment with a lack of participants, especially in the girls side of the game, which I’m sure Badminton Scotland is working on.
“Our training cell is designed to help Fraser and the girls by pushing them on and bringing them through.”