Bargh proves age is no barrier

Cathy Bargh defeated players young enough to be her granddaughter to win a prestigious badminton tournament.

The 50-year-old from Sedlescombe surprised even herself by winning a Badminton England senior bronze circuit women’s singles title at The Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath on Saturday.

Bargh, who coaches at Freedom Leisure Summerfields, only really entered the tournament to get some singles practice ahead of next month’s All England Seniors Open Championships.

She couldn’t have been given a tougher start because Bargh faced the top seed and national no.55 Eleanor Spawton (Dorset) in her opening group A match, but Bargh came from behind to beat the 17-year-old 12-21, 21-14, 21-15.

Bargh then saw off Louise Sobey (Avon) 21-5, 21-13 and Rachael Fenner (Sussex) 21-10, 21-10 to top the group with three wins out of three. She then received a bye through the semi-finals.

Jessica Young (Berkshire), 16, overcame second seed Rachel Kershaw (Yorkshire) 21-14, 21-14 in the other semi, and although the national no.69 took the first game of the final 21-15, Bargh rallied to win the next two 21-18, 21-15.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said Bargh. “I was playing so well I was pleased I wasn’t playing badminton against myself.” See tomorrow’s Observers for the full article.