JUDGING by what he has already achieved in badminton, Harper Leigh certainly looks like one to watch for the future.

The 13-year-old is a seven-time Welsh champion and has won 11 titles in the under-15 age group since last October.

Earlier this month, the Bassaleg School pupil became the first Welsh player to compete at the European Under-15 Championships.


Before that, he won the boys’ doubles at the Spanish Open in only his second event on the European badminton circuit.

He has also been nominated for Young Sports Personality of the Year at the South Wales Argus Sports Awards, which take place at Chepstow Racecourse on Thursday, May 14.

If successful, the teenager will follow in the footsteps of taekwondo duo Ben Meyrick and Kriya Pahimna, the previous winners of the young personality crown.

An under-13 and under-15 Welsh international, Leigh trains at Newport Badminton Academy and Badminton Wales’ Regional Academy under Raj Popat and Donal O’Halloran respectively.

Dad Dylan has seen just how much his son has developed since taking up badminton four years ago.

“His coaches say the improvement in the last four months has been astronomical,” said his dad.

“If he continues to progress in this fashion, he will become an extremely good senior international.

“He is modest about his achievements and in a largely individual sport he is committed to helping other players from the academies.”

He added: “Harper has won seven out of the last eight Welsh national badminton titles he has contested.

“He has won 11 titles since October 2019 as a 13-year-old in the U15 age group.

“The wins have been across singles, boys’ doubles and mixed doubles.

“The highlight was a win at his second attempt on the European badminton circuit at the Spanish Open.

“He was also a finalist at the Irish Open in 2019.

“He has represented Wales for the last three seasons in team events and he was Wales’ first ever representative at the U15 European Championships in February.”

Leigh’s sporting skills aren’t confined to the badminton court – he has also been a Gwent county cricketer for the last five seasons.”

Nominations for this year’s awards can be made by visiting southwalesargus.co.uk/sportsawards, where there is a full description of each category.

Categories include: Professional Sports Personality of the Year, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Grassroots Sports Personality of the Year, Disability Sports Performer of the Year, Outstanding Services to Sport in Gwent, Senior Team of the Year, Junior Team of the Year, Community Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, Junior Coach of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Newport County AFC Player of the Year and Dragons Player of the Year.

The overall Sports Personality of the Year accolade will come from the winners of the other awards.