TALENTED Jack MacGregor is rubbing shoulders with some the best badminton players in the world while on a trip to Asia.
The 14-year-old Bournemouth Collegiate student took up the offer to travel to Malaysia and India to further his championship ambitions.
The visit includes an invitation to train in Kuala Lumpur and spend a day with the legendary Lee Chong Wei – ranked world number one for 199 consecutive weeks from August 2008 to June 2012.
MacGregor will also train with the Malaysian national junior team in Melaka before attending the Prakash Padukone Academy in Bangalore, India.
Coach Liam Cordery paid tribute to his pupil’s dedication to the sport.
“Jack is a gifted athlete and has shown promise in every sport he has taken part in,” he said.
“But he is now totally focused on badminton. He no longer wants to be great at sport – he wants to be a champion in one.”
MacGregor started playing badminton at the age of nine and within 18 months was national under-11 doubles champion.
He is now considered one of the best badminton prospects in England, having spent the most part of the 2013-14 season ranked number one in his age group.
He competes all-year round in national and international tournaments, and represents Dorset in the under-17 category.
The Wareham-based teenager has medalled at every international event entered including gold in the Yonex Danish under-15 singles and bronze in the Aros cup boys' doubles (2014).
“Jack lives far from the 'centre' of English badminton (Milton Keynes) and it can be difficult to get noticed and certainly selected to play for his country,” explained Cordery.
“But he doesn't sit idly by. He practises five to seven days a week and travels to the David Lloyd club (Ringwood), and Westgate Badminton Centre (Winchester) as part of his programme.”
MacGregor’s dedication is paying off, having been invited to the England under-15 training camp in Lilleshall.
“As his coach I have seen an unusual level of composure and adaptability to the hardships of elite sport,” added Cordery.
“This, I am sure, will take him far. Unfortunately, his endeavours are expensive. Jack is humbly seeking to secure corporate funding for further trips abroad.
“Jack would happily offer badminton training or free demonstrations to interested companies.”
Ambitious MacGregor told the Daily Echo: “Think how good your company would look when I win an Olympic medal.
"Helping out young hopefuls is always perfect PR. I hope there is somebody out there who can help me fulfil my dream.”
Anyone interested in supporting MacGregor can contact his coach Liam Cordery at firstname.lastname@example.org