Mauchline native Adam Hall will make his Commonwealth Games debut in Australia next month.
The 22-year-old was called up to Team Scotland on the back of his successes on the international circuit.
He has been part of the county’s talented athlete support programme since it began in 2009 and he now holds podium potential status – which has him full of optimism for the Gold Coast.
“People throughout your career will always tell you that you can’t achieve your goals, can’t get to the top of our game and can’t win major titles,” Hall told pupils at Park.
“My advice would be to ignore the doubters and only believe in yourself.
“You can achieve anything as long as you work hard and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
“Always believe that you can.”
Hall’s confidence is justified by his bulging medal cabinet – he has won a record-breaking 27 Scottish junior titles and started this year well, defending his senior men’s doubles title at the Scottish Championships and claiming gold in the men’s doubles at the Iceland International.
His chat with the Park School pupils proved inspiring, and provost Jim Todd presented him with a gift to take to Australia.
“I was delighted that Adam had taken the time to visit and inspire Park School’s badminton club before heading to Australia next week,” he said.
“He is just back from competing in Germany and his schedule is extremely busy so we are very grateful.
“I know Adam’s old coach Tommy Mulgrew, who is a well known face in Mauchline and the badminton world.
“Tommy speaks so highly of Adam. He still coaches with Tommy and helps to encourage young people to play badminton.
“Adam is a real credit to his sport and the people of East Ayrshire. I wish him every success.”
After taking part in the Achieve programme at Glasgow 2014 and experiencing the excitement of working behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games, Hall was resolute in his ambition to represent his country this time around.
He is the only East Ayrshire athlete heading Down Under, and is one of an eight-strong badminton squad which includes Glasgow silver medallist Kirsty Gilmour, Kieran Merrilees, Patrick MacHugh, Martin Campbell, Julie MacPherson and teenage debutants Alex Dunn and Eleanor O'Donnell.
“It’s absolutely fantastic news that Adam Hall has been selected for the Badminton Squad for the Commonwealth Games,” said David Carey, chair of the East Ayrshire Sports Council.
“This selection further highlights the excellent work that East Ayrshire Sports Council achieves in partnership with our member clubs through the Talented Athlete Support Programme.”