Elliott Clutterbuck of Australia has quite the badminton resume. More than 10 international tournaments, time in Beijing and starting the sport at age nine means his experience allows him to play an all-round role for the team.
“For the last two years I’ve been based in Beijing, playing for a Beijing team and in Northern China. I first played for Australia when I was 16.”
Clutterbuck has been exposed to nations in Asia where badminton is akin to a religion. He says the support and access is some of the best in the world, helping him to develop crucial parts of his game.
“It’s similar to Australian Rules football, there’s a lot of support from the government, TV and media. If you go anywhere in China there’s always badminton courts and places to train. The support and setup there was incredible; I was training five to six times per week with quality competition.”
Clutterbuck, now a practising lawyer, undertook studies at Tsinghua University. When not in the classroom, he was on the university team or playing in the Red Bull China National Championships.
Perhaps a key difference is the size of the halls in Asia, where Australia has few of similar calibre. However, most of the team has had the chance to play in such an environment, making it a key factor in team experience, says Clutterbuck.
“Generally, sharing the experience of playing in these sort of conditions is very beneficial. I believe most of the team are very experienced, we’ve all played in Asia, and we’ve all been able to help each other.”
Looking toward the future, Clutterbuck hopes more results fall Australia’s way. Location difficulties and training schedules have hindered preparation, and while some matches did not result in victories, they were still important.
“I think we could’ve beaten Sri Lanka in the preliminary rounds…if we had more opportunities to train together we would have had some better results.”
The badminton competition concludes on July 12.