The comeback story is complete for western suburbs badminton star Renuga Veeran.
The Altona North resident came out of retirement last year in the hope of landing a spot on the Australian badminton team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and she was excited to receive a call-up to the national team last week.
“That’s mainly the reason why I took the opportunity to make a comeback,” Veeran said.
“I was really thinking twice, but I haven’t played a big event on home ground before, so when they asked me I said ‘for sure’.
“Lucky enough my work was really flexible and my boss was really supportive, so I’m working part-time at the moment while I’m training for the Commonwealth Games.”
The Malaysian-born Veeran has been one of Australia’s finest badminton players for more than a decade.
This will be the 31-year-old’s third Commonwealth Games, having represented Australia at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
She reached a career peak in London 2012 as a member of Australia’s Olympic Games team.
It’s not all fun and games for a national representative in a minority sport.
Just like most of the other badminton players who will grace our screens during the Commonwealth Games, Veeran has to work full-time to make ends meet and does most of her training in her own time.
Being part of the Australian team, having all the memories of playing in the world-renowned events and all the personal achievements along the way make it all worthwhile for Veeran.
“Everyone does it part-time in badminton, no one is really a full-time athlete unless they get enough sponsorship and funding from the government,” she said.
“I’ve lost income and some of the tournaments I’ve had to pay for myself to play, but the thing is, there’s no regrets.
“The money, you can earn that later on, but the opportunity to compete in these big events, they don’t come around that much.”
Veeran is a badminton lifer.
The game has provided her so many highlights that she would never totally step away from it, nor miss out on a chance to spruik about the sport.
She always knew she would return to competition in some form, but never thought that it would be back on the international stage.
“I thought I might come back for nationals or some local events, but I never thought I’d make a comeback for Australia,” she said.
“It was a good opportunity for me to come back and be able to qualify to go to Gold Coast.”
Veeran is still highly visible in the badminton community. She coaches at the Altona Badminton Centre and is still involved with Badminton Victoria.
The sport was ingrained into her from a young age.
“My dad was a coach, so we started off being dragged to the court pretty much, but later on I really liked the sport, I had a bit of talent and, with a bit of hard work, I felt like I had the technique and the skill to progress,” Veeran said.
Veeran will pair up with long-time doubles partner Leanne Choo for the Commonwealth Games.
“When I made the comeback, she said she wanted to play with me again, so we decided to give it a shot,” Veeran said.
Veeran is still on the look-out for sponsors for the Commonwealth Games.