Photo: Luke Lee.
Meet Madeleine Stapleton, competitor at the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, 2014, qualifier of World Championships 2013 and 2014, Oceania Championships Team Member 2014, and various junior national titles.
For the 21 year-old Kiwi doubles specialist (with some serious Danish blood) it has been cracker few years. Born and raised in the Waikato ‘Maddie’ is a young woman on a mission.
The half Kiwi, half Danish athlete, describes herself as a ‘typical 21 year-old’. The Sir Edmund Hillary scholar is completing her Honours degree majoring in Psychology at Waikato University.
Widely known as Maddie, her attitude to sports, study and life can be summed up easily: “I believe that living life to the full is vital”.
When did you start playing Badminton, where and why?
My first experience playing was at Hamilton Junior club nights when I was around nine years old. I started because my older brothers played and also my mum, so I was basically dragged along.
You were a good swimmer and track athlete too, why did you choose Badminton instead of swimming and running?
Swimming was such a huge commitment as we were made to train twice daily at such a young age. Swimming laps up and down the pool also became a boring routine as you can imagine and getting up at 5am in the winters was also off-putting. Running was much the same and very repetitive. I chose to excel in badminton as trainings were more varied and fun and, unlike swimming and running, it involves more of a team element.
You are on a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship at Waikato Uni. What does that mean to you?
The Sir Ed scholarship really aims to aid you in excelling in your chosen sport, paying for your full university fees and gym membership and helping you with your studies if needed. To me, this is extremely useful, saving money to pay for tournaments and trainings and everything that comes with travelling with my badminton. It also acts as a support network, developing leadership.
You were a part of the New Zealand Badminton Team that competed in Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014. How did that feel?
Being a part of the squad at the CWG was absolutely amazing! It was a truly memorable experience and it really meant a lot to me. All the effort myself and my partners put in to qualify for Glasgow made being selected all the more special. It was awesome being surrounded by like-minded people in the village and competing against some of the world’s best players. It is, without a doubt, one of the proudest moments I have ever had and I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity to compete at such a high level.
Can you some up in one paragraph all your favourite things?
One of my favourite things has to be food. As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time in the food court at CWG! I have a massive sweet tooth. Family and friends come first in my life, amongst sports and university. I love the beach, especially Waihi, and will take any opportunity I can get to travel. Socialising also falls high on my list of favourite things to do in my downtime. I have many favourite movies and may be a bit biased when I say that the Hobbit is right up there in my favourites.
What message would you like to give to other badminton players or sportspeople in general?
Never give up and always follow your dreams. Just remember there are people around you that are there for support and to help, so set goals and work hard to reach them. Stay positive and don’t stop fighting because you only get out what you put in.