Talent means life is a sports shuttle
For a young sportsperson, growing up in the shadow of successful older siblings is not always easy.
Thanks to them, your achievements may not get the full recognition they deserve and there is constant expectation to live up to their feats.
For Blair Timms, though, this is certainly not the case.
Just turned 16 last weekend, the Blenheim-born and Picton-raised teenager is the younger brother of nationally successful badminton player Joseph. Older sister Nyomi has had her fair share of success on the badminton court too but none of this seems to have fazed year 11 Queen Charlotte College student Blair.
In fact, it is entirely the opposite. As well as his decent helping of natural talent, having older siblings appears to be one of the major reasons Blair has achieved so well at such a young age.
"My brother has always been there to push me, he has always been better than me so I am constantly trying to get better than him, I guess . . . my sister was better than me when I was younger, because she is a few years older than me, so I was always trying to beat her as well.
"I finally started to beat her about three years ago, she wasn't too happy."
The trio's father Gary, a former Marlborough rugby forward, has played his part as well. Not only was he the one who encouraged them along to a badminton fun day at the QCC gym when Blair was just six, from there he soon took up coaching, a role he still performs to this day.
Undaunted by taking on older players, Blair has always punched above his weight in badminton.
At age nine he was in the Marlborough under-14 team and two years later earned selection in the South Island under-14 side. His first major success came when he won the under-13 title at the South Island Championships in 2009 and in 2010 he was the fourth-ranked under-15 player in the country.
The most recent triumph came last week as the Marlborough under-19 side finished fifth at the national teams championships and beat Canterbury to claim the trophy for best-placed South Island team.
However, one of the most satisfying moments for Blair came in August last year when he scored his first-ever victory over Joseph to win the boys doubles title at the South Island under-19 championships.
Despite all his success in badminton, it is far from the only code where this sports-mad teenager is displaying his talents.
In 2009, after several years playing football, Blair decided to have a crack at rugby.
He spent two years at the Waitohi club before shifted to the QCC under-16 team for the last two seasons. A barnstorming No. 8, his form this year was strong enough to earn him selection in the Marlborough under-16 side to attend the South Island tournament. But, as Blair notes, he was chosen as a prop.
"I play No 8 for school but the rep coaches saw the one game I played prop when we had someone injured. It was a big difference but at least I was on the field."
With badminton, rugby and even a bit of basketball in winter, you would think summer would be time for a break from sport.
But he also plays softball and touch, and has quickly proven himself a more than capable cricketer.
He made the Marlborough under-14 side in 2010-11, his first season playing and, last season, he was a key figure in the QCC/Picton team who won the fourth-grade limited-overs and Twenty20 competitions.
Playing six sports means a lot of organisation and it is a rare week when he has a day off.
When school and sport commitments do allow, though, Blair loves making the most of what is "right on our back doorstep" and is an avid hunter, fisher and diver.
Having talent in so many sports means there are some big decisions ahead in the next year or two. However, it looks like it might be an oval ball and not a shuttlecock which gets the nod when the 2013 winter season hits.
"At the moment I'm looking at keeping my badminton involvement down a bit and focussing more on rugby. My brother is leaving home next year and I won't have him there to push me to go to [badminton] trainings and things like that.
"Next year we won't have a school or a club [rugby] team in Picton so we might have to play for Moutere or Central in town. It's not ideal but I suppose I get to meet a few different people and as long as I'm playing rugby, that's the main thing."
The Marlborough Express