IN his playing days, Richard Vaughan was a one-sport man, with badminton taking him all over the world, including to two Olympic Games.

Since hanging up his racket after missing out on Beijing 2008, the 43-year-old has been involved in sports governance for more than a decade.

And it’s not just badminton he has imparted his knowledge to – squash, equestrian and artistic swimming have also benefitted from the Welshman’s expertise.

Hailing from Llanbradach near Caerphilly, Vaughan now resides in Brisbane with wife Piret and six-year-old twins Samuel and Olivia.

Down Under since 2015, Vaughan, a bronze medallist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, is currently the high performance pathways director for Artistic Swimming Australia.

While enjoying life on Australia’s east coast, in the city that will host the 2032 Olympics, the father-of-two has been tempted by the possibility of returning to his homeland.

The National Wales:

First, though, a bit about how a two-time Olympian from Wales ended up so far away from home.

“After playing, I worked for a digital company based in Treforest for about three years, and I was still doing some performance consulting,” he said.

“Then I took a job as CEO of Badminton Ireland for four years, and then I was CEO of Squash Australia for six years from 2015.

“I finished that at the beginning of last year and then I was chair of the finance committee for Equestrian Australia, and now I’m high performance pathways director for Artistic Swimming Australia, which is just temporary.

“The last 10 years have gone very fast – it feels like three years.”

Vaughan, who has been a director of Badminton Europe for some seven years, continued: “It’s been interesting working in different systems, getting an understanding of what’s normal.

“But I guess there’s no normal, you just get different perspectives.

“With equestrian, I went on their board about a year ago and then took over as chair of the finance committee for a couple of months. They’re based in Sydney and I didn’t want to move.

“It was the same with the swimming. I was on the board, and they’re a bit different because most of their money comes from Australia’s richest lady.

“The plan is to put a serious programme together for the Brisbane Olympics. They’ve increased their funding quite a lot and are trying to put some things in place.

“In a nice way, I’ll be in the role for as long as I want, or until something comes up that fits the right objectives for me in terms of location and challenge.”

The National Wales:

The Covid-19 restrictions in Australia have been particularly stringent, with Vaughan experiencing a “surreal” journey home in 2020 after his father passed away.

He’s due to make three visits to Wales this year and isn’t ruling out a permanent return further down the line, but only if the right opportunity comes up.

He said: “There’s always something on the horizon. British Badminton and the Royal Brisbane Sailing Club are both looking for a CEO.

“That’s one within my own sport and the other is more about location, but they’re both challenges in different ways.

“The plan was always to come back to the UK.

“My original contract was just until the 2018 Commonwealth Games and then I stayed another three years to set-up a national centre on the back of that.

“Also, six weeks after I took the job, we found out my wife was pregnant with twins.

“We were thinking about what to do, but Squash Australia were really good and flexible with the first year to make it work.

“If I was offered the British Badminton job, I’d take it. I’d love to come back, but it’s just having the right challenge to justify moving the family.

“But not only is it the moving, it’s signing up to a really demanding role.

“The last year has been nice because I’ve been doing different projects and it’s been more flexible.

“When you’re a CEO, it really is 24/7 and trying to juggle a lot of things.”

A European Junior Championships silver medallist in 1997, Vaughan won bronze at senior level three years later and would go on to reach a career-high world ranking of seven in 2002.

Vaughan, who also set-up the Richard Vaughan Badminton Academy, says he is hugely grateful to Sport Wales for their support during his playing days.

And while hip problems “derailed things at the wrong times”, he “wouldn’t change anything” about his career.

“I didn’t medal at the Olympics but I did well in beating a world number six and another top-20 player, then I lost to the world number one,” he said.

“I beat the world number one three times, I beat a world champion and a number of top-10 players.

“Unfortunately, in badminton, like a lot of sports, you’ve got to do that six times in a row to get a medal.

“I don’t get much of a chance to play these days but I did some work for the last Olympics, I was an advisor for Badminton Australia.

“My body is also falling apart as well!”