Guernsey Press

Le Tocq out in the cold ahead of Island Games

PAUL LE TOCQ has lodged a formal complaint with the Guernsey Badminton Association after his surprise exclusion from training with – or representing – the island’s first team.

Reigning Guernsey men's champion Paul Le Tocq has been excluded from training with the Island first team. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 31442187)

At 40 years old, the former Welsh champion still holds a firm claim to being Guernsey’s top player, having won 13 Island singles titles and competed at up to Commonwealth Games level.

But the GBA have omitted him from the initial Island Games training squad, which will later be slimmed down to the final team announcement, ruling him out of Guernsey 2023.

This decision also precludes him from being allowed to train with the first team, leaving him frozen out at Island level from the sport he has devoted so much of his life towards.

Le Tocq understands that his omission was based largely on him missing training sessions, but he had already justified to the GBA that some of the information that they have based their decision upon is inaccurate, and further explained to them that he was absent for significant personal reasons for a period.

‘I’ve had 25 years of being in the first team, competing, doing the coaching, arranging sparring players coming to the island, arranging the team kit and always doing the best I could for team Guernsey,’ he said.

‘Ultimately I’m also the current Island champion in all three disciplines, so all in all it’s a really sad thing for me that’s hit me really hard.’

Le Tocq had learned of his omission via a third party from another island and said he had to email the GBA to ask if it was true, which they confirmed it was.

‘I can’t go into much more detail as I have a formal complaint running with them at the moment, but the decision is one that I believe is firmly based on personality, not on results and training, and in the way the decision has been made and handled thus far it reflects quite poorly on the association, which it pains me to say as I’ve been a vehement supporter of theirs over the years,’ he added.

‘Once that announcement came out, I said to my wife I would probably walk away and never play again, but I’ve received messages from a few close friends, including members of the current Island Games team, who have been hugely supportive and want me to stay in the sport. Without them I wouldn’t have continued.’

Following encouragement from Jersey’s Mark Constable in particular, he enjoyed a revitalising outing at last weekend’s Kent Masters.

There, Le Tocq claimed men’s singles and doubles gold on top of a mixed silver.

The newly-inspired player has set his sights on several lofty targets, including a future World Championships, but more immediately an English title.

‘Being a national champion in two countries, 20 years apart, would be amazing.’

• Responding to the Guernsey Press, the GBA have confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation following Le Tocq’s complaint but they cannot comment further until this is complete.