Ones To Watch – Harper Leigh

  • Name: Harper Leigh

  • From: Rogerstone, Newport

  • Sport: Badminton

  • Age: 16


Tell us a bit about your early days as a badminton player.

I started playing badminton with my dad and his friends when I was 9 years old.  I was also playing cricket, football and table tennis. The other sports were dropped over the next five years when I realised I wanted to focus on badminton.


Any big wins under the belt?

I have represented Wales at age group of Under 13, 15, 17 & and 19. I played at European U15 championships in France. U17 in Slovenia and U19 in Serbia. I also represented Wales’ Senior development side.

In 2022 I reached the podium on six out of the seven Badminton European U17 Circuit events I played in for Boys Singles. I won four silver medals and two bronze medals. I also won a gold medal for Mixed Doubles in Lithuanian Under 17 internationals in 2022.

I have won Welsh National titles including in 2022 for singles, doubles and mixed doubles and I ended 2022 as the number 2 player on the Badminton Europe U17 rankings.


What are you most proud of to date in your career?

My proudest moment was being selected for Team GB at the 2022 European Youth Olympic Games in Slovakia. It was a fantastic opportunity to compete at a multi sports event with and against some of Europe’s finest young athletes.


Where do you hope to be playing in five years?

In 5 years time I hope to be competing at as high a level as I can, to have no regrets and to still be improving and enjoying badminton every time I step on court.


What are your main strengths?

One of my strengths is fitness – I work hard on my conditioning to ensure I am well prepared as badminton is a tough, physically demanding sport. My focus is on trying to improve each area of my game.


Who is your biggest inspiration in your sport?

My biggest inspirations in sport – my coach Raj Popat who drives me to continuously improve all aspects of my game and Cristiano Ronaldo who I admire for what he has achieved in football.


What are the next steps/moves in your career?

The next step is to transition to Under 19 and Senior badminton whilst continuing with my education. I’d like to thank Newport Badminton Academy, Badminton Wales, Bassaleg School, Whitehead Building Services and my family for supporting me.