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Badminton: Interview with ex-national team player and Sportsman of the Year Georgie Cupidon |05 August 2019

Badminton: Interview with ex-national team player and Sportsman of the Year Georgie Cupidon

Georgie Cupidon

‘All I wanted was to give a helping hand and encourage the young players to push harder and achieve a good result at the IOIG’


Only three medals, precisely a silver and two bronze, were Team Seychelles’ total harvest in badminton at the recently-held 10th Indian Ocean Islands Games which took place in Mauritius from July 19-28.

Inside the Centre National de Badminton in Rose-Hill, Seychelles won a silver medal in the women’s singles through Sportswoman of the Year Alisen Camille. The two bronze medals came in the women’s doubles where Camille teamed up with Danielle Jupiter, and men’s doubles with Kervin Ghislain pairing up Jie Luo.

A very disappointing result compared to Team Seychelles’ performances at previous Games and one person who is finding the result difficult to digest is ex-national player Georgie Cupidon who competed in three IOIG.

Unfortunately for Seychelles, Cupidon was not part of this year’s team in Mauritius, after being left out for reasons which he, himself cannot understand.

The seasoned player who strongly believes in young talents, however noted young players, especially in technical and physical sports like badminton, will always need a more experienced and mature player to lead by example and also to guide them in all aspects of the game, including self discipline and commitment.

“All I wanted was to give a helping hand and encourage the young players to push harder and achieve a good result at the IOIG,” he explained.

After over 20 years in the sports, Cupidon, who has brought home gold medals from both regional and continental events, said after the 2015 IOIG, the level of the sport had drastically gone down and that if quick actions are not taken, badminton will definitely die, now that all the countries in the region have overtaken us.

In his first IOIG in 2003 in Mauritius, Cupidon brought home two medals – a gold and a silver – while at the 7th Games in 2007 in Madagascar, badminton was not featured, but he teamed up with Juliette Ah-Wan to win the mixed doubles gold medal at the All-Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria.

In 2011 at the 8th Games on home soil, Cupidon won two gold and two silver medals, before clinching an additional one silver and two bronze medals at the 10th All-Africa Games which took place between September 3-18, the same year in Maputo, Mozambique.

At the 9th IOIG in 2015 in Reunion, Cupidon won three bronze medals, while at the 11th All-Africa Games which took place from September 4–19, the same year in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo he won two bronze medals.

Devastated by the decision to leave him out of the national selection, Cupidon met up with Sports NATION to express disappointment and to give his views about Seychelles’ performance in Mauritius.

Sports NATION: Being a seasoned and experienced player and potential medallist, how come you were not selected for the 10th IOIG?


Georgie Cupidon: It all started in 2016 after the 11th All-Africa Games during a meeting where the chairman of the Seychelles Badminton Association (SBA) was talking about the preparation for the future IOIG and at that time I was still attending my regular training sessions and was well on form. I left the meeting due to some personal commitment and later that night I called the chairman seeking some clarifications since nothing he said during the meeting involved me. All he said to me was that I am no longer a member of the national team. He later told me to prepare myself since the IOIG was approaching. How can I prepare myself if I am no longer a member of the national team? For me this sounded quite ridiculous. He could have easily told me to ignore the previous comments and come back, which I would have gladly done. Even before the 10th Games when he was asked why I was not part of the team, his reason given was that I have not been training for three years, but he did not say why. It was obvious from that day that I was no longer part of his plan.


Sports NATION: Has the situation had a negative impact on you?


Georgie Cupidon: Of course yes. Badminton has been part of my life for over 20 years and for me, it was not just a sport, but a lifestyle. I was fully committed, along with Juliette Ah-Wan, who I can say was my main partner in putting Seychelles badminton high at both regional and continental level. At times, some people take some decisions without even thinking, or analysing the situation as a whole. They do not sit down to think who has contributed and how things were done for the sport to progress.

I can gladly say that during my days of representing my country, the taxpayer’s money was not wasted.


Sports NATION: What hurt you the most about being left out of the national team?


Georgie Cupidon: Like I said, badminton was not only a sport for me, but it was also my life. I have made a lot of sacrifices and along with Juliette, we have gone through so much together. I am not asking for glory, but only recognition for our sacrifices and hard work. Being left in a corner as used goods after so many years is not an easy thing to digest. The way I was kicked out was also unacceptable. I was told that I was no longer part of the national team, but to prepare myself for the IOIG. How can that be possible, let alone being logic. Badminton is played at the La Promenade Gymnasium only, so, if I am not part of the national team, how can I come and prepare myself?


Sports NATION: Nowadays, the sporting authority is going towards young talents, or succession, as it is more commonly known. Do you think this is the reason behind you being left out?


Georgie Cupidon: First of all, among those young players, no one ever beat me, except maybe for Kervin Ghislain who had a superior physical level. Technically, they are no match at all. My point is I am 100 percent in favour of young talents, as long as they have an experienced player to lead and guide them. I have accumulated over 20 years of experience and it saddens me that I cannot share it with the younger players since I am not welcomed anymore. The idea was not to take over, but to share. I am not saying that if I was in Mauritius, Seychelles would have won five gold medals, but there would have been a difference in the final result. I have been taking part in big Games all my life and I know exactly how to prepare myself and I am positive that I would have been a great support for the younger players.


Sports NATION: How would you describe the performance of Team Seychelles at the 10th Games in Mauritius?


Georgie Cupidon: Very sad and if we do not change the way things are being done right now, it will be worse. Can you imagine, for the first time in the IOIG history, we do not have a women’s team? Where have all the girls gone? Even the men’s team could have done way much better with adequate preparations. An area of weakness I noticed was in the men’s doubles. A good team should include a good attacker and someone who is good technically. You cannot have two attackers playing together, because they will not last the whole match as they will be exhausted. Again, I repeat, I am fully in favour of young athletes, but for them to progress, they need older and experienced players who will guide and help them.

I will agree that physically, the younger athletes are better, but given the right amount of time, older athletes will get in shape, since they already know how to prepare for that level of competition.

I have also observed that other countries from the region are improving, while we have remained static.

Most of the time, the authority does not listen to athletes, since they think they know everything. We are the ones who go onto the frontline, so we are the ones who know what we need to progress and achieve results.

I think some people have been in some posts for too long and things have become monotonous. Right now we need fresh ideas to keep with the new trends and development in the sport.


Sports NATION: How do you see the future of Seychelles’ badminton?


Georgie Cupidon: To tell you the truth, if we do not change our ways of doing things, we will decline further. Nowadays, the youngsters are not committed like we were when we started playing. Back in the days, I used to train on my own, doing my own jogging. I was really focused and my target was to be a semi-professional player, but things did not turn out to be the way I wanted.

The young players need to take the sport at heart and be more committed, or else there will be no progress.


Sports NATION: Is Georgie Cupidon and badminton a matter of the past now?


Georgie Cupidon: Badminton is still part of me and I am willing to help the youngsters. I want to share whatever knowledge I have with them. Frankly, it hurts me a lot when I observe the decline in the sport. With proper change in the management, I will definitely be back to give a helping hand. Each time I pass by the ‘School Meal Centre’ I always feel some strong emotions. Like I said, I have a lot to give and I am more than willing to go back in there, as it is the place, second to home where I have spent most of my time.


Interview conducted by Roland Duval

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