“I was very lucky to be able to do go to three Olympics” – Donna Kellogg’s story part 2

Published On May 14, 2013 | By Sportsbuff | HOME, People

Her passion for badminton started when Kellogg was about 11 years old and her teacher at Borrow Wood Primary School set up a badminton school team, where she went along with her friends.

“It was something that I enjoyed straight away. Something to do after school, something away from doing my homework,” she says with a smile.

From that point onwards the events in her life developed very quickly. From the school tournament, Kellogg got scouted to represent the county. She aspired to do even better than that and it seemed her hard work paid, as she got selected to represent the England junior team in Holland in the European Championships in 1995, where she won a gold medal.

“Obviously that a little bit of success drives you, you want that little bit more, you train that little bit harder,” she explains her drive to win.

In 1997, Kellogg turned 18 and awaited for something special – an official letter saying she was selected to represent Great Britain senior badminton team.

“I was very excited. Every morning when I knew it would possibly gonna come, I would wake up and wait. And when you open it, you see that you’ve been selected…yeah, it was wonderful!” she remembers that day.

Kellogg’s first senior tournament was the World Championships in Scotland in 1997. She was put to play against China, which was the World Champion at the time. She admits it was a difficult start to her senior career, but at the same time a good lesson for the future.

“It is very flattering that the senior England management saw that I had some potential and gave me opportunity to play against the World Champions in the World Championships. It was very daunting but it gave me a goal straight away, how hard I had to work to become a better player.”

Watch one of Kellogg’s mixed doubles games (2008 Swiss Open – silver medal):

First thing that comes to her mind when describing herself is the fact she is competitive. Her sporting achievements reflect this belief. Apart from being selected to represent Great Britain at three Olympics, she has won the World Silver and Bronze medals, the European three gold, three silver and three bronze medals, as well as six medals in Commonwealth Games and 11 national titles, all of these mostly in mixed and women’s doubles.

But for her, these are not the medals and podium steps that she considers being the biggest achievements of her career.

“My highlight would be definitely going to Sydney Olympics, my first Olympic Games. To get selected to represent Great Britain was an amazing feeling and to walk into the Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony, it was definitely something that I would remember for a long time,” she says.

Take a look at all Kellogg’s results –>

Kellogg, although still being in good shape, decided to leave the sporting stage in December 2009. Afflicted by some minor injuries that she had to cope with each day and being unsure of whether she can achieve more, she took a hard decision of retirement.

“It’s something I thought about for a little while. I felt that I was still playing ok but mentally I was tired of the constant traveling around the world, living out my suitcase and not really having a set-up pattern to my life,” she says.

“I’d love the last Olympic Games to be the London Olympic Games but I have no regret. It is a brilliant feeling for anybody to go to one Olympics. I was very lucky to be able to do go to three.”

Kellogg and ClarkDuring her sporting career Kellogg managed to graduate Loughborough University with a degree in Sports Science. She admits, it was a tough challenge to play on a high level and study at the same time, however, the advantages she has got now from making the decision to combine the two, compensate the hard times at that time.

“It was difficult but I was determined that I wanted to pass my degree. It’s giving me a lot more opportunities after my playing career is over. Donna Kellog teachingBecause any sport person will know, when you retire, maybe even if you’re late 20ties, early 30ties, you still got a lot of working life left,” she says.

Her services to badminton for her country have been recognized and Kellogg has been awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2010. She did not realize she has been nominated so it came as a big positive shock. Kellogg went down to Windsor Castle together with her whole family.

“We had a lovely weekend in Windsor, even though a bit nerve wracking. You have the worry of what you’re gonna wear. I had high heels on, but not to high. I didn’t want to just trip up,” she reminds herself with a laugh.

“I can’t quite remember exactly what the Queen said to me but I noticed, that she had a question for every single person there. I think that was amazing.”

After retirement, she did not know which path in life to follow, but eventually gave herself a lot of opportunities to do different things. She has done a lot of coaching on regional and national level. Also, she took up an internship of Strength and Conditioning. Apart from that Kellogg worked for Dame Kelly Holmes Trust as an athlete mental.

So what does she like to do in her free time? The answer is very simple – different sports. She plays netball, tennis and golf. However, her loved ones are always in the first place.

“I like doing different things. See the world, go on holidays, go to the theatre, go to the cinema. Just have fun with my friends doing lots of different activities, whatever it is,” she says.

Where does she want to be in ten years? She cannot answer this question and still seems very unsure about her future.

For now, she lives in the present and focuses on her work as the coach and sport ambassador at the University of Derby. She is very excited about new projects there, which include raising the sporting profile to attract more high-level athletes to study in Derby and working at the Derbyshire Institute of Sports.

“Sport has been a major part of my life and growing up and I definitely love it. It’s important for me that I live a healthy lifestyle and still continue to enjoy playing sport. It generally gives you those goals in life and shows you how to reach them, not only in sport.”

It is clear to me that although Donna Kellogg is retired, sport will always determine her life. It was like that when she was a child and it still remains the same. This is just the way she enjoys her life. She can seem sensitive, but at the same time strong and both her sport and personal lives reflect that.

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