Meva Singh Dhesi

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  • He is a para badminton player and coach. He has won several medals for England. He is also involved with number of charities.
  • Before losing his leg, I was a regular badminton player. He started to play badminton when he joined evening classes for the advanced players at college. At the end of the term, he won the Men’s Doubles Tournament. This was his first achievement and he the went on to have many more.
  • His first badminton club was Gainsborough Badminton Club (G. B. C.), which I joined in 1972. Since then, he have moved on and joined Flying Feathers Badminton Club (F. F. B. C.) and Hadley Badminton Club (H. B. C.).
  • Prior to the loss of his leg, his achievements were:
  • 1972–1980 He was a regular match player for H. B. C., G. B. C. and F. F. B. C. in four different leagues. These were Middlesex badminton League, Barnet District Badminton League, Enfield Mixed Badminton League and Hertfordshire Men’s Badminton League. During this time, He won five medals at the various leagues mentioned above.
  • He also won the following medals in these tournaments:
  • Year Tournament position
    1976–1977 Hertfordshire Open Men’s Doubles Tournament Runner up
    1978–1979 F. F. B. C. Mixed Doubles Tournament Runner up
    1978–1979 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament semi final
    1978–1979 F. F. B. C. Open Men’s Doubles Tournament Champion

 

  • He lost my leg in a road accident. He was just about to get into my car when another driver crashed into me. The accident happened on 2nd July 1980 and his leg was amputated, just above the knee, on 4th July 1980. When he came round after the operation, he was shocked to find that his leg was not as it should have been. Once he recovered from the shock, he was walking on crutches after just 2 weeks.
  • he was encouraged to get back on my feet, or rather foot, by his badminton friends, as they all challenged him to a game of Singles.
  • One of those friends was Gillian Gilks – World Champion Ladies Singles Player. The other was Brian Elliot, who was a regular player and coach at F. F. B. C. Brian was a good player and did not like to lose to an Indian. On a visit to the hospital, Brian said something to me that he did not appreciate at the time, but it certainly spurred him on to get back on court. Since that time, Brian and Meva have remained close friends, but have still not managed the challenge.
  • He returned to play badminton in the first weeks of September 1980 for F. F. B. C. It was the first Monday in September and he was sitting at home feeling miserable and unhappy as it was the first night of the new season. he was unable to drive at the time as he had a manual car, so he changed into my sports kit and walked, on crutches, to the club, roughly 1.5miles away. he managed to get to the club although he was soaking wet by the time he got there, as it had started to rain halfway through his journey.
  • All his friends were surprised to see his turn up in my gear. he hadn’t really intended to play, but he was coaxed onto the court by Mike Mansell, his Men’s Doubles partner prior to the loss of my leg, and we managed to win our match 15-11, although he did find it extremely difficult to balance on one leg! he came off the court with considerable pain in both ribs and leg. As it turned out, he went to the hospital that night and discovered he had actually broken two of my ribs. It was at that moment that he decided he could play badminton again with the help of an artificial limb. he decided to take a break from the sport until the New Year, by which time he would be used to the new leg.
  • Preceding his holiday to India, he had to visit Stanmore Hospital to collect his “new leg”. Mike Mansell came with him and found out that the hospital had a right instead of left leg for me. He did said that I could be the only badminton player with two right legs!! The hospital did eventually correct the error and  went to India with the right, or rather left leg. The leg was not the easiest of thing to cope with and he broke it several times whilst he was there.
  • When he returned to England in March of 1981, he began to play again regularly although the season started in earnest in September of that year.

He  then achieved the following:

1981-1982 I began to play matches in the Men’s Doubles League in Middlesex. My first match was against F. F. B. C. which my partner and I won two out of the three matches. We beat the best and lost to the weakest opponents.

One match in particular that I remember was one where halfway though the game, my artificial limb began to squeak, so I requested to stop the game whilst I oiled it. Unfortunately, the leg broke, but as the club knew me well, they allowed me to go home and change legs. We then went on to win the game. Our opponents were not too happy about this and claimed that they would have won if the match had not been interrupted.

1981–1982 H. B. C. Men’s Doubles Champion. This was my first Men’s Doubles tournament for H. B. C., and my partner was Harry Thaker. I had not even achieved this win when I had two good legs.

F. F. B. C. I entered the Men’s Doubles Tournament and was winning in the semi-final until my leg broke and we had to concede. Obviously, it was upsetting for both myself and my partner to get so far and then have to give up.

1982–1983 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament. We lost again but this time I found it harder to go one step better.

1982–1983 H. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament. Once again, my partner and I were champions. This time, I partnered Mukesh Amin.

Runners Up in the Mixed Doubles Tournament. We lost at the last stage of the final by one point. Unfortunately, I only have myself to blame for this.

At this stage, the local paper wrote an article on my achievements and this paper was distributed all over North London. It was because of this article I was awarded the Keith Holden Trophy, given by Barnet District Badminton League to the outstanding individual, team or club for that year. I was chosen from the ninety clubs in the league.

1983–1984 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament. Once again, for the third year running, we lost.

1983–1984 Barnet District League Mixed Doubles Class 2. We lost in the Semi-Final, this was the first time I had entered this tournament and my partner was Joanne Master from F. F. B. C.

One of my partners, Charlie Chogley, and I then went on to form another club, Mill Hill Badminton Club, which a few players from H. B. C. joined.

In 1985, we entered two Team-Mixed and a Men’s Division Four. Charlie and I play regular matches for the Men’s together. On one occasion, we were playing an away match and we won the first game and took it easy in the second, which we lost. At the beginning of the third game, I decided to take off my tracksuit, it was only then that the opposition realised that I had a false limb. In the final, we won 15-3 with ease and did not lose a match all night.

1984–1985 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament. Lost again, for the fourth year running.

1984 – 1985 Barnet District League Mixed Doubles Class 2. We lost in the semi-final, once again I was partnered by Joanne Master.

1985 I entered the B. A. S. A. National Games for the first time.

My first badminton game was against Richard Court. He had been the champion for a long time and although he did eventually win the match, he decided he had met his match and gave up playing. He has not played at a national game since.

I won two gold medals at the game, one in the 400Meters and the other in Weight Lifting.

I set a national record time of 3.15.3 seconds for the 400 Metres.

1985-1986 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament. Semi-Final, again I lost, by now the fifth year running.

1985-1986 Entered Barnet Badminton League Annual Men’s Doubles Handicap Tournament.

My partner was Charlie Chogley. We were given a handicap of naught and we played the tournament’s top seeds. We beat them but they still qualified for the Final and won. We were the only pair to have beaten them on the day, although we lost in the end, it was still a very special day.

1986 B. A. S. A. National Games. I won two Gold medals once again, beating my own national record in the 400 Meters of 2.40.7 minutes set the previous year. The other Gold was in badminton. Partnered by Michael Dooner, we won the Men’s Doubles Tournament. I did play in the Men’s Singles, but my first match was against my Doubles partner, who having the advantage of two good knees, beat me, although it was a very good game.

1987-1988 F. F. B. C. Men’s Doubles Tournament Finals. At last we made it, having beaten the pair in my groups before, we both qualified for the next stage of the tournament and met in the Final where they took their revenge and beat us 15-12.

1988 B. A. S. A. National Games. Copying last year’s achievements by winning one Gold and two Silvers again, badminton Doubles and Singles and Weight Lifting.

1989 B. A. S. A. National Games. I was runner-up in the badminton Singles. In the Men’s Doubles, we did not lose a single game. Due to late arrival however, we were disqualified for the first game.

1990 B. A. S. A. National Games. One Gold medal in the Men’s Badminton Singles Championships. Silver in the 400 Meters. Due to an injury, I managed to complete the 100 Metres but finished only 2nd. I went on to compete the Men’s Doubles Finals. Again, due to injuries, finished 2nd. Up to this date, I had not lost for five years.

1991 Competed in the National Amputee Games where I won the Doubles Tournament and lost in the Final of the Singles against my Doubles partner, Frances Merrison.

I had to take a temporary break from the sport due to problems with my leg and had to undergo another amputation in July 1992. This took place at Stanmore Hospital and I was hospitalised for two weeks. The reaction to this operation was more severe than expected and I was off the sport for all of 1993.

In February of that year, I attended a special invitation to meet the Prince of Wales to open the Douglas Bader Sports Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton. I was also introduced to Nicholas Scott, the Minister of Social Security & Disabled People.

On New Year’s Day 1994, I had the good news from the B. A. S. A. coach who invited me to Holland in March 1994 for the Dutch Open. I then had 10 weeks to get fit. I trained twice a week at my local club, G. B. C.

1994 Dutch Open. Against all the odds two English pairs ended up in the Finals of the Mixed Doubles. It went to two very close games 15-12 and 15- 13. I also put up a creditable showing in the Singles, losing in the Semi-Finals, despite being the only amputee.

British Open. Reached both the Semi-Finals in Singles and Doubles.

The year ended on a personal high, the birth of number one son, Birinder Singh. Quite a personal achievement considering the four previous attempts had produced four lovely daughters.

1995 National Federation Games in Swindon. I won Gold in the Mixed Doubles and reached the Men’s Singles Finals and was beaten by a player with a partially paralysed left arm – he was right handed. Again, I excelled on the track, winning Gold in the 400 Metres for the third time in 3 minutes 5 seconds, my second fastest time ever, my record of 2.40.07 minutes had stood for 9 years at this time. I also won Silver in both the 100 and 200 Sprints.

European Games at Stoke Mandeville, Gold in the Mixed Doubles, Silver in the Men’s Singles, and Silver in the Men’s Doubles.

I became the Men’s team captain of a new club in September 1995, Westpole Badminton Club, which was an amalgamation of Gainsborough and Oakwood clubs. We were Runners Up in the Enfield Men’s League.

1996 May of 1996, I competed in the British Open and won Gold in the Singles, Silver in the Mixed Doubles. Winning Gold in the Singles was sweet revenge for last year. I was nominated to represent England in the European Championships in Italy in August. Unfortunately, the games were cancelled due to lack of funding.

1997 October, I competed in the European Championships at Dortmund, Germany, and won Gold in Men’s Doubles (Above Waist Handicap) and came third in the Men’s Singles (Below Waist Handicap).

Also played for Enfield Badminton League Tournament against able-bodied players and came fourth in the Men’s Doubles Group, but did not qualify for the next round.

1998 I played for H. B. C. against able-bodied players and lost Mixed Doubles in Semi-Finals, but came Runners Up in the Men’s Doubles.

April, I played again for Enfield Badminton League Tournament against able-bodied players. In the group tournament, we beat last years’ Runners and went on to be Runners Up in the Finals.

November, I represented Great Britain at the Badminton World Games at Amersfoort Holland. I came fourth in Below Waist Singles and we won three games out of five in Doubles. We did not qualify for the next stage.

1999 November 1999, I represented Great Britain at the European Championship at Tel-Aviv, Israel. I won Bronze in the Men’s Doubles.

2000 I participated at the World Championship in Borken, Germany. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

2003 August, I represented Great Britain at the World Para-badminton Championship in Cardiff, Wales. I won Gold at Men’s Doubles partnered by Collin Broadbridge.

September, I participated at the European Para-badminton Championship in Bitburg, Germany. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

2004 June, I participated at the European Championship in Tilburg, the Netherlands. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

2005 August, I tried to set up a badminton club (Burnt Oak and Barnet Badminton clubs) which integrated amputee players with able-bodied players at the club. We also placed a team in the Enfield Men’s Four League. Unfortunately, we only lasted two years as it was felt that able-bodied players did not really want to have disabled players in their club.

2006 May, I participated at the European Para-badminton Open in Dortmund, Germany. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

August, I competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Cardiff, Wales. I won Silver in the Men’s Singles and Gold in the Men’s Doubles. My partner was Anthony Foster.

September, I competed at the European Para-badminton Championship in Seville, Spain. My partner, Will Smith and I won Bronze in the Men’s Doubles.

2007 May, I represented Great Britain at the European Para-badminton Open in Dortmund, Germany. I won Bronze in the Men’s Singles and Doubles.

In the same month, I also participated at the World Para-badminton Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

August, I competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Cardiff, Wales. I won Gold in Men’s Doubles, Partnered by Anthony Foster again.

In the same month, I also played at the Middlesex Integrated Tournament (Abled and Disabled). I won Gold in Men’s Doubles and Bronze in Men’s Singles.

2008 February, I competed at the Four Nations Championship in Largs, Scotland. I won Gold in Men’s Doubles, partnered by Bruno Forbes.

May, I competed at the European Championship Open in Dortmund, Germany. I won Bronze in Men’s Doubles.

August, I competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Cardiff, Wales. I won Bronze in Men’s Doubles.

November, I competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Dublin, Ireland. I won Silver in the Men’s Doubles. My partner was Daniel Lee.

2009 In May, I played at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Liverpool, England. I won Gold in the Men’s Doubles. My partner was again, Bruno Forbes.

September, I joined BSCA Badminton Club, held at Queen Elizabeth Girls’ School, Barnet. This is an able-bodied club. I am the only disabled person in the whole club.

2010 May, I participated at the European Championship in Filzbach, Switzerland. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage.

August, I competed at the UKSA Able Bodied Tournament in Chigwell. I won Gold in the Men’s Doubles.

Novemberh, I also competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Belfast, Ireland. I won Silver in the Men’s Doubles. My partner was Bobby Griffin.

2011 January, I played at the Middlesex Disability Tournament. I won Gold in the Men’s Doubles, partnered by Daniel Lee.

May, I competed at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship (Wheelchair) in Aylesbury, England. I won Silver in the Men’s Singles.

June, I was honoured with a UKS Sporting Achievement Award.

August, I participated at the Devon Wheelchair Open. I reached the quarter Finals in Men’s Singles.

November, I participated at the World Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala. My partner, Gobi Ranganathan, and I played well but failed to win our final game, which would have got us a Bronze medal. In the Singles, I gave the number 2 seed in the tournament a great game (Wheelchair).

2012 May, I played at the Four Nations Para-badminton Championship in Nottingham, England. Unfortunately, I did not play very well.

June, I competed at the European Championship Open in Dortmund, Germany. I won Bronze in the Men’s Doubles. My partner was Neil Jarvis.

August, I attempted and this time succeeded in setting up a brand new club called Herts. Toppers Badminton Club, integrating disabled players with able-bodied players. It first began with Gobi Ranganathan, Martin Rooke and myself. Both Martin and Gobi are wheelchair badminton players. After creating the club, we decided to place it in the South West Herts. Badminton Independent League, where we would be playing in matches against able-bodied players. This has never occurred in the UK before as we were the first club to have more than one disabled badminton player playing in an able-bodied league. Overall, we did ok having come fifth in our League, which was still below what we really wanted to achieve. Next season, we hope to do better.

British Sikh Council UK recognised my contribution to sport & parabadminton

2013 January, I played at the Herts. Country wheelchair Championship and won Bronze in the Mixed Doubles, partnered by Joanna Kelly.

April, I participated at the Spanish International Para-badminton Tournament in Villajoyosa. We played well but failed to get past the Groups stage due to the unfortunate fact of top seed Singles players being in my Group.

May, I competed at the Four Nations English Para-badminton Championship in Chigwell Essex. I won Silver in the Half Court Men’s Singles.

Nottingham Robin Hood Doubles Runners up in Wheelchair Class 2

Between April 2003 and April 2011, I was on the development Board of Badminton England, representing disability.

Since 2005, I have been playing for the Middlesex County 40+ able-bodied club first Saturday of every month. This is an invitation only club.

 


Profession/Designation badminton player
Location UK
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