“I was very lucky to be able to do go to three Olympics” – Donna Kellogg’s story part 1

Published On April 18, 2013 | By Sportsbuff | HOME, People

“I hate these questions! Where did you get them from?” I am being asked by her. Although it is not the first time we meet, she has got many difficulties talking about things not related to sports and her reactions make me smile.

Taking part in three Olympic Games, Donna Kellogg, one of the UK’s most successful badminton players, made a decision about her retirement just two years before the Olympics in her home country. Her decision was a big shock for all the badminton fans and a loss for the national team.

“Around, a lot of people always said to me: why didn’t you keep going only a few more years? But it’s still two more years of training, six hours a day, six days a week. It was just getting a little bit difficult,” she says.

A conversation about sports comes much easier to a professional athlete than talking about her favourite music. But does her whole life revolve only around sporting issues? And what is she involved in after her professional career is over?

When I first asked her for a meeting, I did not know what kind of person to expect, knowing only facts about her achievements and being overwhelmed by them. I was not the only one, who felt this way.

In May 2011 Kellogg took over a role of a sport ambassador and head coach of University of Derby badminton team. Daniel Tanser, past team’s president, recalls his memories of the first meeting with the badminton star.

“It was quite formal, as we were sat down in the classroom. We all knew who she was and sitting there with an Olympian badminton player in front of you, to be said she’s going to coach you next year was really nerve wracking. But when we got talking to her, we found out she was a really nice person, really easy to get on with”, he says.

Watch Dan Tanser talking about the team:

It seems the whole team found a common language with Kellogg. The badminton star managed to build it from scratch to the point, when they were very close to getting promoted to a higher league. They remained undefeated for almost the entire season last year, loosing only to Birmingham’s Aston University.

Watch a full news story about the match:

After a few meetings I realize I have not seen her in anything but a tracksuit, sweatshirt and trainers, often carrying a big Team England bag – her remains of a professional career. Her long hair is always tied high in a ponytail. All of these comprise a very athletic outfit.

At first she seemed so gentle and shy. Eventually I find out she gets more involved and serious at the badminton training sessions, but I can also see, how sensitive she is about the issues that touch her personally.

Kellogg describes herself as being a caring person. That is probably one of the reasons for her decision to climb Kilimanjaro together with two of her friends in June last year.

After her brother Joe died of a heart attack in 2011 and the tragedy left the whole family shattered by a sudden loss, she decided to climb the highest African peak to raise money for the Charity Cardiac Risk in the Young. Thanks to her effort more than £24.000 has been donated.

Take a look at their fundraising page –>

“The money will go towards research to help prevent other similar tragedies happening to young people and the devastation it causes for the family and loved ones. Not enough words can describe how loved and missed Joe will be by so many,” trio trekkers wrote on their website.

Kellogg put a lot of effort into training before the trip, climbing in the Peak District to keep healthy, fit and strong.

“It is gonna be a though challenge, not only physically, but also mentally. I think the biggest thing is whether we can cope with the altitude but we won’t know that until we’re there,” she said back in April 2012.

Donna Kellogg with friends - picture from the official fundraising page

All the time she emphasizes the importance of her family and friends in her life. Together with her four siblings and parents they build a big sporting family. Her 19- year-old sister Lia represents the county in badminton, while her brothers play football and cricket in local leagues and her father is a chairman of Spondon Cricket Club.

“My parents brought up 5 children so they’ve been very busy. They both worked hard and very family-orientated. They supported me through all my badminton career and have always been there for me. Hopefully, one day, if I was to become a parent, I’ll be just like them,“ she says.

Kellogg was born on 20 January 1978 in Derby. From an early age she felt that being an athlete was the only future she wanted.

“When I was at school…… PART 2 coming soon!

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