Matthew Fogarty (left) talks to his partner Bjorn Seguin (right) at the 2015 World Championships.
As the Badminton World Championship began at the Emirates Arena on Monday, a 60-year-old man by the name of Matthew Fogarty was spotted chatting with a younger player on the court. Though he may have appeared to be a coach, Fogarty is actually a competitor, teaming up with 29-year-old Nicholas Bonkowsky in the men’s doubles category. The unlikely pair will take on Malaysia’s Kah Ming Chooi and Low Juan Chen in the opening round on Tuesday.
Despite being the oldest competitor in the tournament, Fogarty is determined to prove that age should not be a barrier to success in the sport. He wants to show that if one is good enough, they can play at any age and demonstrate that badminton is one of the healthiest sports to play.
Fogarty, who is a physician by profession, has a history of being denied entry to the World Championship due to his age. In 2005, he and his partially blind partner Dean Schoppe were denied entry by the US Badminton Association on the grounds that younger players needed the opportunity. However, this only served to strengthen Fogarty’s resolve to continue playing.
Since his previous partner retired, Fogarty has teamed up with younger players and qualified for the 2015 World Championship in Indonesia with 25-year-old Bjorn Seguin. Currently ranked 93rd in the world, Fogarty began playing badminton at the age of three and has won four US national titles in doubles. He and his partner were fortunate to make it to the 2017 World Championship as some of the top Thai and Indonesian pairs withdrew due to the ongoing SEA Games, but Fogarty is determined to make the most of his opportunity.
Despite his busy schedule of training six days a week while working 46 hours a week as a physician, Fogarty remains committed to flagging issues within the Badminton World Federation. He believes that there are many issues within the organization, including the control of national bodies in deciding the careers of players, and intends to continue raising awareness about them.