CLARE Connor is perhaps one of British badminton’s most dedicated figures.
The Lanarkshire based line judge has been playing the sport for many years and, after time spent coaching, became involved with judging five years ago.
Clare travels all around the globe to judge, and her travels took her to Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic Games in the summer.
The reality, though, is a lot let glamorous than the sun and beaches that Rio promises. Clare paid £3,000 out of her own pocket to make it to Brazil in the summer, and lived off of a small daily allowance for the two week period.
“You don’t get paid for the work you do, no.” She explains, “The only time you get [money], and you don’t get paid per say, you get a daily allowance, is when you do international stuff.
“If I’m on an international tournament, the likes of China, you get an allowance but I mean, it’s nothing. For two weeks it’s £200.
“It’s expenses really, just to cover you. It’s really just to buy your food and that’s all. Very minimal.”
Clare, an accountant by trade, is not bothered by having to put her own money into the job and says: “It’s the privilege of going” that inspires her.
Clare also spoke highly of her summer trip to South America and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil: “Rio is one of the best places I’ve been.
“I think because of all the negative talk beforehand, they were saying a lot of the places weren’t ready and all the danger about it and the scaremongering beforehand.
“Whereas when I got there, there was nothing wrong. Everything was there, the hotels were the nice, the beaches were lovely.”
It wasn’t all sunny beaches and beautiful hotels, though: “The food maybe wasn’t brilliant, it was the same sandwiches day in day out but I mean there was no danger.
“I never felt any danger and we went out all of the time up to the shops and restaurants and beaches.”
Team GB left Rio with a Bronze medal in the men’s doubles, against all of the odds, and Clare, pictured with GB’s two medalists, thinks this could be a real positive for badminton in the country: “More people are becoming involved with badminton. We have certainly had a slight increase in the likes of umpires and line judges.
“People see what you can do and where you can go so we have had an increase, and we have had an increase in players taking it up too.”
However, despite all the positives of the bronze medal, it has also highlighted some flaws in the British system. Clare explained: “Every country that gets a medal gets money as a reward or a gift. From what I know, Great Britain don’t get anything for the medals that they get so there is no real incentive for the players to do that.
“It’s got to be a real passion for the players: there’s not a lot of money in it for them. They’re depending on funding from everywhere else to go and do this.
“Hopefully [the bronze] will raise their profile because they don’t get the funding, and hopefully that will prove that there are good quality players out there.”
The Scottish Open Grand Prix begins in November in Glasgow and, although Clare is missing the event due to being abroad, she spoke of the magnitude of the event: “It’s massive, absolutely massive. So much so that we have actually got the Worlds next year. If we didn’t have the Grand Prix it wouldn’t have happened.”
The World Championships also take place in Glasgow, and were described as a ‘major accolade’ by Clare.