Pictured: Gronya Somerville commentating. Photo Credit: Badminton Photo, Mikael Ropars
After catching up with Gronya last month about her plans post-Tokyo, the Australian Olympian is currently abroad in Europe for a long stint of training and competition, meeting the likes of her Danish childhood hero, Peter Gade.
Amongst training sessions with the German and French national teams, she recently took part in the YONEX French Open 2021, HYLO Open 2021 and most recently AIG FZ Forza Irish Open 2021, where she finished runner-up in the women’s doubles alongside fellow compatriot Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen. This week, she’ll be taking on the mixed doubles and women’s doubles draw at the Scottish Open 2021, in Glasgow from 25-25 November.
Moreover, the Australian star has been taking up opportunities in Europe to refine her commentary skills. Last month, she took to the commentators box at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup and Thomas & Uber Cup Finals for an alternative experience; observing a tournament instead of competing. Therefore we caught up with Gronya to gain an insight into the world of commentating:
How did the opportunity to commentate come about?
I have done some commentating before at a tournament for BWF just to try it, so I messaged the organiser when I knew I would be in Europe for a few months and just said if there were any opportunities I would be help to do some more. Then one of the commentators got COVID-19 at Sudirman Cup so I filled his spot.
What are the challenges of commentating?
“The long period of sitting and watching with hardly any breaks. This is unique more so to the teams event as it is back to back ties. You need to keep the energy high the whole time which is tough too”
What did you enjoy the most about commentating?
“I enjoyed being back around world class badminton and providing a players perspective to the game and more personal insights to the players”
Are there any ‘behind-the-scene’ fun facts about commentating the average joe wouldn’t know about?
“Maybe that you need to research a lot of the statistics to use such as the players personal history eg club, age, height, anything interesting about them, match results, career highs head to heads etc”
More recently, Gronya and neighboring player and friend from New Zealand, Justine Villegas, reached out to The Badminton Podcast for advice on how to launch their own podcast – where her transferable skills from commentating could prove to be very useful.
How does your commentating aid the development of your Badminton Lights Out podcast with Justine Villegas – do you hope to pursue all of this as a career on top of playing?
“Maybe, at the moment it’s just something I enjoy doing and a way to learn some new skills that could help me down the track”
There is still plenty in store for Gronya and her European adventure. Next month, she will be joined by fellow-Olympian Simon Leung on court once again as they take the “confidence [of knowing] that we can compete with some of the best in the world“ at the BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva, Spain.
Written by Alex Deng, Badminton Oceania
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