WYCOMBE badminton player Abigail Holden admits she exceeded all of her expectations and then some after winning girls singles silver at the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games.

The 15-year-old was among more than 1,600 talented athletes from across the UK to descend on Manchester to compete in 12 sports across four action-packed days at the annual event.

And Holden, who plays at Wycombe Badminton Centre, was one of the stand-out players on show, producing some brilliant performances to reach the final before going down 21-13, 21-17 to Scotland’s Holly Newall.

The School Games were Holden’s first tournament of the new season and she believes the medal is the perfect confidence boost as she looks to improve her overall ranking.

“It feels really good to win silver at the School Games. I never expected to get one so it’s fantastic to stand on the podium,” said Holden.

“I think I was a bit nervous in the final but Holly was a lot stronger than I was and played some great badminton.

“It was my first School Games and I loved the whole experience. It was really nice to be with all the other sports and be among the other athletes in the athletes’ village.

“I felt in good form coming into the Games. I had done a lot of training over the summer so I was quite confident that I could do well.

“It was my first tournament of the season so hopefully the rest of the season can be good. This medal gives me a lot of confidence moving forwards.”

The Games have helped to launch the careers of a host of British athletes, including heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds who were in attendance.

And Wycombe teenager Holden hopes she can one day follow in the footsteps of such previous School Games competitors and represent her country at the highest level.

“I’ve got an international competition in Switzerland later this month and one in Denmark in October so I’ll be doing a lot of work in preparation for them,” she added.

“My dream is to one day compete at the Olympics. I hope that I could maybe compete at Tokyo 2020 – it will take a lot of hard work and dedication.”

The Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, was held in venues across Manchester from 4-7 September 2014. Visit www.2014schoolgames.com for more information.