Sporting Heroes - Racquet Sports
Tennis was played at Hatfield Park from the mid 19th century onwards. George Lambert (1842-1914), who played on the courts there, became a world champion tennis player between 1871 and 1885. Public lawn tennis courts included the "Showfield" site close to St. Albans Road East. Hatfield Lawn Tennis and Bowls club was founded in 1924.
The district boosts a number of people who represent Great Britain, at their chosen sports. There are four Lacrosse players at Welwyn Warriors who play on the GB Team, a two Time Junior Grand Slam Winner trains at Gosling Tennis Centre and local player, Neil Macdonald represented Great Britain for Table Tennis at the 1977 Paralympics, which was held in Canada.
Welwyn Garden City Squash Club in the late 1970s was based at the Parkhouse Sports Club, above Welwyn Department Store. Squash Courts had also been recently erected at Gosling. Club members frequently represented the County. Mrs V. Manning was particularly successful winning the Hertfordshire Ladies Singles Squash title on 16 occasions.
Much more recently Mark Chaloner was part of the GB Team at the World Team Championships in Cairo in 1995.
The most notable local Badminton players have been members of the Goode family. Jo Goode who lives in Tewin won Bronze for Mixed Doubles Badminton at the 2000 Olympics. She continues to coach the Herts Under 13 squad at the Herts Sports Village. Her husband Andy Goode was a European Junior Badminton Champion in 1977 and went on to hold more international caps than any other England player. He represented Great Britain at the Barcelona games and was the Manager for the badminton team at the Atlanta games.
Andy's father, Bill Goode, coached Gail Emms from Hitchin (World Mixed no. 1 player until 2009) for eight years. Despite international commitments including the Olympics, Gail Emms continued to play at county level for Hertfordshire. Tim Goode was also a member of the Senior England squad in 1977 and Nick Goode was a Herts Champion at Men's doubles for several years.
The Goode family run Goode Sport and the UK-based rackets wholesale business Ashaway. Martin Dew, who lived in Valley Road in Welwyn Garden City, played Badminton at men's world championship level for six years in the 1970s. Today he lives in Denmark. Joan Walters who lives in Brookmans Park was honoured with Badminton England's highest award in 2010 for over 40 years service to badminton, mainly through organising junior tournaments locally.
Gobi Ranganathan who lives and works in Welwyn Garden City is ranked 8th in the world for wheelchair badminton. In 2009 he won both the Singles and Men's Doubles titles in Belfast at the 4 Nations Disabled Badminton Championships. In the 2010 competition he completed a hat trick, retaining both titles and although injured competed successfully at the French International.
This page was last updated on 21/03/2012