Faye Plummer’s introduction to pickleball can be attributed to a single Facebook post.
The 44-year-old resident of Worcester Park has been actively engaged in the sport for over five years now and is one of the premier female players in the U.K.
Her accomplishments include an impressive assortment of national and international medals.
Addicted After One Stroke!
As we reported back in June, pickleball has recently gained traction in the U.K., both at the grassroots and elite levels.
“I’d never even heard of the sport until my friend Lou (Louise Stephens), who had just got back from the States, decided to go to a club not too far from us in Heathrow,” the former soccer player told swlondoner.co.uk.
“One Sunday morning, she put a Facebook post up saying that she was off to play this crazy sport of pickleball.
I liked the status, and the next thing I knew, I had a text message from her saying, ‘You’ve got five minutes; I’m coming to pick you up, and we’re going to play’”.
“I really didn’t want to go but she marched me out of the house. We turned up, I picked up this paddle, went onto the court, and from that first hit, I was addicted.”
A Pivotal Moment
Since that pivotal moment, Plummer’s love for pickleball has turned into a distinguished career that would be the envy of many.
This includes the distinction of becoming the first European woman to secure gold in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles at the 2018 Dutch Open.
“It’s addictive, it really is,” remarked Plummer, who also holds down a job as a customer service assistant at a medical company.
“You can have a bad match, but then an hour later, you just want to be back on court again.
“My greatest achievement was probably when we played in Amsterdam in 2018, and I won the triple crown.
“If I remember correctly, I was the first female in Europe to have ever achieved that, so it’s something nobody can ever take away. That’s definitely my proudest moment.
“I don’t really play singles anymore because that is where the sport becomes a little bit more like tennis, and I’m not cut out for that. I prefer doubles.”
A Meteoric Rise
Over the past year, pickleball has witnessed a meteoric rise in the UK owing to its inclusive and accessible nature.
Presently, an estimated 12,000 regular players and over 450 venues offer the sport across the country.
The upcoming National Championships at the Bolton Arena will host 682 athletes, a significant increase from the 430 participants in the 2022 event.
After snagging two medals last year, Plummer expressed her determination to achieve a podium finish in her doubles events this time around.
“It’s Such An Inclusive Sport”
“It’s such an inclusive sport,” she emphasized. “Anyone can play. I’ve seen players as young as 11 going all the way up to people in their 80s.
“Over 12,000 people in the UK play right now because it’s so accessible. With more and more leisure centers taking it a bit more seriously, it’s taking off.
“The National Championships this year will be tough because of the amount of competition coming through. I’m playing the gender doubles with my life partner, and we’re pushing for a top-five finish or even top three.”
2023 English Nationals
The 2023 English Nationals are scheduled to take place at Bolton Arena from Thursday, 26th October, to Sunday, 29th October.
Franklin, Skechers, Scan, and UK Pickleball Shop proudly sponsor this year’s event.
Play will commence at 9 a.m. UK time each day.
For further information or to locate your nearest place to play, please visit pickleballengland.org.
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