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Cardiff Character: Carissa Turner

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt is getting back up when you’ve been knocked down,” Carissa states.

It’s not just the destination of glorified wins or successful pats on the back when you’re the best at what you do. It’s the plenty of hard work, the “what next” and the trials of being the top 104th badminton player in the world that makes it all worth it. Carissa Turner from St. Fagans is no ordinary Welsh 23 year old; She’s always ready to be challenged, a tower of strength and a heart full of enthusiasm for her badminton fix. 

The early years 

From the age of 8 her badminton journey began, “Although I did want to be a vet before all of this,” she laughs. For Carissa, her hunger for competing was always evident by exploring many sports. Following a horse riding accident she wasn’t able to continue with some, “A friend of my mums recommended badminton and it just sort of went from there,” reminisces Carissa.

Turner has competed nationally in junior and senior competitions ever since, contending further worldwide success in the European Badminton Union circuits and the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. Most recently, she is preparing to battle it out against some of the top 30 world players in the Yonex Welsh Badminton Championships.“It’s good to be around these sorts of players because you can learn a lot from them, and you can see where you’re lacking,” she eagerly added. Meeting people from all over the world on her travels has always been the best badminton perk for Turner, learning from the best about respect for other players, discipline and determination required to be a professional. 

The competitive streak 

“Seconds before every single game I have to re-lace my shoes, take a sip of my drink and run through the focus of the game,” Carissa adds.

Her daily routine at the Sports Wales National Centre is not for the faint hearted, a regime which catalyses her explosiveness on court whilst playing such a reaction-heavy game, “But I’m having to change it because my coach thinks it’s too much,” she blushes. Carissa humors her highly competitive nature in training and playing, and reveals this has flourished into self-criticalness. She states, “I write a diary and video record all my games to see how I’m progressing. There’s always room for improvement I think.” 

A tough love

The road to success wasn’t always smooth, “I’ve been knocked down a lot throughout my career, I was never one of the best and people were always putting me down,” Carissa admits. However, she fondly brings up the ongoing support of her very doting Mum, who has helped her during these difficult times. Admiringly, she feels such experiences have made her a better and stronger player, “The biggest thing I’ve learnt is getting back up when you’ve been knocked down,” she states.  

Carissa alongside her playing manages to fit in coaching at the Sports Wales National Centre and David Lloyd in Cardiff, due to the lack of money that comes with playing professionally. Despite this continuous set-back, Carissa adamantly says, “I cannot see myself stopping, I just can’t, I’m addicted to the game.” Her future goals include participating at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympics.