TeamGB Badminton Team Announcement 056 HiRes 2

11 June, 2024

It takes an entire village to build an Olympian but Paris 2024-bound Ben Lane’s mother Suzanne Louis Williams can lay a much larger claim than most on her hand in his journey to badminton’s pinnacle.

Shuttling talent runs in the family for the 59-year-old badminton player-turned-coach with Lane, 26, and older brother Alex proving themselves on the national and international stage.

Exmouth’s Louis Williams is a two-time 1993 and 1994 English national champion and won Commonwealth gold in Canada as part of England’s mixed team in 1994.

Now, her son is embarking on his second Olympic campaign. His first-ever coach and mentor is convinced Lane and doubles partner Sean Vendy can contest for the highest badminton prize in the French capital this summer.

She said: “They’ve had a better build-up this time with preparation, and they’ve got that experience of being in Tokyo.

“Both myself and Sean’s mum are so proud of them because it’s tough being the number one pair, they’ve been the number one pair ever since they were juniors, and they’re used to the pressure.

“They’ve been away for 10 weeks on the trot so it’s hard to be away from family, it’s tough on their bodies and it’s tough psychologically because you have to keep picking yourself up.

“Since their last Olympics, they’ve had some really good results, they haven’t necessarily always been consistent.

“They’ve beaten the world no.1s or the Olympic champions last year and, recently, they tied it all together.”

It will be a whole family affair when Lane and Vendy, who have been a pair since the age of 13, hop on the Eurostar.

The doubles’ contingent heading to Paris includes Lane’s 80-year-old nan, who the duo call Annie, as both families prepare for their first Olympic experience on the ground following Tokyo restrictions.

The duo will be looking to build on their Tokyo 2020 campaign, which was cut short in the group stage, as European and Commonwealth medals stand them in good stead going into this summer.

She said: “With both of the boys (Ben and Alex), they were two energetic kids, we wanted to keep them busy.

“They were very good footballers for Exeter City, they played tennis, because my sister played tennis for England, at county level.

“They were really good sports kids with lots of opportunities, the fact they chose badminton was lovely for me but if they had chosen any sport, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“I love looking at old photos, especially because Ben and Sean have been together for so long.

“They were so little together and when I think how long they have been together since 13, it’s lovely because they’re also best friends.”

A landmark Swiss Open victory in March, their first tournament triumph in the upper echelons of the BWF World Tour, has further bolstered their summer chances when they step out to do battle at the Porte de la Chapelle Arena.

Louis Williams added: “It is hard on the road, they’re playing tournaments and then they’re prepping for the next week, it’s just constant.

“The men’s doubles is so tough and competitive, there are so many good pairs and when they go to these tournaments it’s so hard.

“They ended their run of Olympic qualifying with winning at the Swiss Open which was perfect.

“They can beat the top players and when you go to the Olympics, anything can happen.”

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