Mark Topping is a badminton enthusiast. He has been championing, playing and coaching the sport of badminton for many years, mainly at the Terenure Badminton Centre, Dublin 12. It was a great privilege to represent the Irish Badminton team 54 times between 1994 and 2007. It was a great honour to be awarded Badminton Ireland coach of the year award in 2018.
John Noble was introduced to badminton in 1985 and has been playing ever since. His love for the game is palpable and John still competes on both the Senior and Masters circuit when he can. His son Dylan and daughter Sophia got the bug for this sport at the tender ages of 3 & 4 and now play all the time and represent Ireland at National level!
I was introduced to the sport at about 7 years of age, and have been playing ever since. It was a great honour and privilege to represent the Irish Badminton team 54 times between 1994 and 2007.It was also a great source of pride to represent the senior Leinster badminton team between 1997 and 2007 in over 50 matches in Inter-provincial competitions and the English Inter-counties competition mainly in the Premier League.
Another tremendous honour was representing the Northern Ireland badminton team at two Commonwealth games events, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998 and Melbourne, Australia in 2006.I played semi professionally on the BWF World badminton circuit between 2000 and 2005. In a long term partnership with my brother Bruce Topping we reached a high of number 39 on the BWF World Men’s Doubles ranking in October 2005 after the Danish Open.
I have continued playing competitive tournament badminton on the world masters circuit and with the help of some tremendous partners, have enjoyed some outstanding results. In the world championships in India in 2017 with partner Graham Henderson of Ulster we took a silver medal home in the 50 plus Men’s Doubles event. At the same event in partnership with Debbie Miller of England we achieved a silver medal in the 50 plus World Championships Mixed Doubles..
In September 2018 in Spain in partnership with Graham Henderson, we took the Gold medal at the European 50 plus Championships. Also at the same event in partnership with Dorothy McCulloch of Ulster we took the Silver medal at the European 50 plus Mixed Doubles Championships.Since 2008 to the present day I have been a self employed badminton coach, encouraging as many people as possible to take up the sport of badminton and helping players improve. It was a great honour to be awarded Badminton Ireland coach of the year award in 2018.
I have been a long term Chairperson volunteer in partnership with many incredibly passionate volunteers in setting up two badminton clubs at the Terenure Badminton Centre.In 2011 Whitehall Road Junior Badminton Club was formed, and we have grown to be one of the largest junior badminton clubs in the country with over 80 members. This would not have happened without incredible contributions from parents who have volunteered their time selflessly over the past 8 years.
In 2014 because of the success of the junior club South Dublin Badminton Club was set up, an adult badminton club. It was set up with the idea of allowing badminton players who had turned 18 in Whitehall Road Junior Badminton Club and wanted the opportunity to continue playing. We also had a big emphasis in the early years of the club in encouraging adult beginners to join the club, which still continues to this day. South Dublin Badminton Club in a few short years has grown to be one of the biggest clubs in the Dublin and District League with over 90 plus members. In the 2018/19 season we have over 16 teams ranging from the Badminton Premier League (South Dublin Spartans) to three teams in Division 9 of the Dublin and District League. I was honoured to be awarded the achievement of ‘Coach of the Year 2018’ by the governing body Badminton Ireland, as its great to be recognised by the badminton community for my coaching.
I have also had the privilege of being elected as a volunteer to work with other hard-working volunteers on the Leinster Branch Executive Committee between 2000 and 2005 and in 2017 to present day.
I come from a sporting family with my dad, mum, sister and two brothers all tennis players. My mum was a Tennis champion in her day at her local Terenure club and whilst I also played lots of tennis when I was young, competing in many tournaments in UK and Ireland, it was my brother Kevin who became a top Irish tennis player and still plays and represents Ireland at ‘Senior’ level.
My first sport of choice was swimming and I became a qualified lifeguard at the age of 12 with all the relevant Irish Water Safety awards. From the ages of sixteen to twenty-four I worked my summers as a lifeguard on the Dublin beaches and swimming pools, and I am proud to have saved three lives over this period, something I never forget!
During my early years I played many sports including rugby, table tennis, squash and golf, alongside my tennis! In 1985 I was introduced to badminton by stealing my brothers rackets and running up to the Terenure Badminton Centre to try out this sport with a friend. From this day on I never looked back, nor have I ever stopped.
I played for a number of Dublin badminton clubs including Terenure College, Terenure CYM, Avondale and Mount Pleasant. During the late 80’s and early 90’s I trained alongside Aidan Murray’s up-and-coming young National players with lots of road running and S&C. I played in the leagues and cups for many years, along with the Shires sponsored graded tournaments and won the men’s Graded A Singles tournament at 28 in 1991, something I am still proud of today.
I have also won a number of Masters Singles titles at the U45’s and U50’s categories and I still enter some Senior tournaments when time allows.
A couple of years ago I became a BWF qualified Level 1 coach and coach students in some of the schools and colleges when time prevails, as I am also a lecturer in Marketing at Dublin Business School.
In 1986 I graduated from Trinity College with an honours degree in Marketing and was awarded the title of B.Sc (Mgmt). The following year I took further exams and graduated from the Marketing Institute of Ireland with an MMII.
During the period 1987 to 2013 I worked for The Coca-Cola Company in the UK and Ireland as their Projects Manager; C&C Ireland as their Marketing Manager for the Pepsi-Cola brands and Unilever Ireland as their Strategy Manager for HB Ice-Cream.
Over the past three decades I have set up three companies. Lifestyle Foods in 1987 where I developed an Isotonic Sports Drinks; Genuine Introductions Limited in 2006 where I developed the Genesis Club in the dating category and Food For Living Life Limited in 2015 where I set up a food company with Deirdre McCafferty, the founder and owner of the infamous Cornucopia restaurant off Grafton Street in Dublin.
As technology started to grip the world with the launch of Facebook in 2004 and the iPhone in 2007, it was time for me to upskill in “digital marketing”, so in 2014 I went back to college and completed a postgraduate Level 9 in Digital Marketing and was proud to graduate and qualify in this valuable discipline, which I now teach both undergraduates and mature students at Dublin Business School.
‘it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ Charles Darwin
My latest venture is in sports products with Mark Topping, where we setup a new company called ‘My Mobile Sports Shop Limited’ in 2018. But unlike the existing companies in this space, this is a ‘virtual shop’ where we focus on the ‘Click’ rather than the ‘Brick’, where the younger Generations now mostly shop!
My two kids who are now teenagers and have been playing badminton from a very young age, and they hope in the future to challenge for Senior International titles. Meanwhile they work hard and train daily at the National Badminton Academy and they love promoting badminton whenever they can and hope they can inspire the next generation of Irish badminton players.