Life is great just now for Rothesay badminton star Sarah Sidebottom, who has been celebrating on several different fronts!
Firstly, the 18-year-old sensation made history when representing her Belgian club side Bad Oupeye at the recent National Two League finals.
In helping her team win that crown to secure historic back to back promotions, Sarah won both her women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches and was named the event’s ‘Most Valuable Female’.
She told The Buteman: “We won 6-0 in that final to earn promotion to the top league, National One, for next season.
“Our team manager was telling us that we’re the first team ever to win back to back promotions to the top league in successive seasons.
“It was cool to be part of that. We hope to win National One next year.
“If we do, we get to represent Belgium at the European Club Championships.
“And I was pretty surprised yet pleased to get Most Valuable Female!
“It was because I didn’t lose a game throughout the league campaign.”
There was more celebration for Sarah and her parents Charlie and Kathleen on March 22, when she learned that she had received an official invitation into the Scotland senior badminton squad.
“That has been my goal since I was nine years old,” she said.
“I’m very pleased. My dad got a bit emotional.
“I did my first day’s training with the squad on April 1.
“Now I’m in training from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday every week.
“It will take a few weeks to get used to it.”
In a further boost to Sarah, she has also received an invitation to be included in Sportscotland Institute of Sport.
She added: “That is amazing because I get a physio, nutritionist and psychologist for free.
“It is exciting that I can get all of those things when I need them.”
Sarah’s latest results come in the wake of her encouraging run to the mixed doubles quarter-finals – in partnership with Jack MacGregor – at last month’s F2 Forza Slovak Open.
That tournament also saw the Rothesay star and partner Lauren gain a long awaited victory over Swedish rival Maria Persson and fellow Swede Nathalie Wang in the women’s doubles first round.
Sadly, Sarah and Lauren lost 21-8, 21-18 in the next round to Estonian pair Kati-Kreet Marran and Helina Ruutel, the eventual overall winners.
Sarah’s 2019 competitive season had begun back in January, when she and Lauren won their round of 16 clash against a Greenland pair in straight sets before losing their subsequent quarter-final tie to an Icelandic duo.