Good mental training, finding the will to smile while facing the potentiality of defeat and perfect timing were all essential elements that helped Samuel Ricketts and Gareth Henry win the gold medal in men’s doubles badminton during the CAC Games at Colombia.
Both of them train thousands of miles separately – Ricketts in the UK, Gareth Henry in Jamaica – and have had a succession of victories as doubles before the games, but their 11-21, 21-19, 21-12 victory over Cuba’s Leodannis Martinez and Oselni Gurrero, will go down in history as their greatest win ever.
“Some of the times during the tournament it’s all about knowing the right time to peak a little and for me and Gary we pretty much timed it perfectly for the tournament,” mentioned Ricketts.
We participated in an excellent match during the semi-finals. The finals weren’t our greatest game but we chose to get the win in whatever way so grinding it out was the best decision.”
Moving to the finals and succeeding was something they planned several months ago during tournaments matches leading up to the CAC games. A bronze medal at Peru around June and a silver medal at the Jamaica International were steps in the direction of their overarching goal.
“We feel really good. We began a couple tournaments back remarking about how we’re aiming to truly win the gold medal this tournament,” Gareth Henry stated after their crowning achievement.
“During that time we weren’t playing that well at badminton but really wanted to come and present Jamaica with a gold medal. Fulfilling that dream or that vision is truly a blessing.” Ricketts explained that a lot of thoughtful preparation went into arranging their big moment.
“Gary and I put in so much mental work, not just active work, but mental effort as well, a lot of connecting. We really spoke it into being,” he stated before Gareth Henry chimed in as well.
“We did a lot of meditation and after every tournament, every match, we talked about each loss and each win in intricate detail to pinpoint a lot of things.”