It's finally here.
The biggest sporting event to hit British shores is imminent and, for me, it seems slightly surreal that the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is only a day away.
Loading article content
After the stress of the qualifying period and the anticipation following the team announcement in May, the only feeling that is coursing through my body now is pure excitement – I can't believe that I'm going to be part of this historic event.
Together with my three badminton team- mates, we were in Loughborough last week for the Team GB holding camp where, in addition to our week of training, we picked up our Team GB kit. We had been told to expect a lot of gear. I was not, however, prepared for what we actually got. I could now stock Greaves Sports for the next year, with probably a bit to spare. The kitting-out process took almost four hours and as we were all experiencing it for the first time, it was a pretty close call to judge who was the most excited. Having a tailor on hand to make any last minute alterations was a nice touch which, funnily enough, I don't have when I'm browsing round on a normal weekend. Getting my kit was the point when it really hit home that I'm going to be competing in the Olympics and the excitement really started to build.
Training-wise, the last few weeks have been really good. The period immediately before a major competition is often the most enjoyable because the bulk of the hard work has been done and it is sharpening work which is the focus. The final two or three weeks are not the time to attempt to make any significant fitness gains. If you're not fit by now, it's too late. My sessions in the last week or two have been slightly shorter in duration, higher in intensity and have been focused on match practice.
Admittedly, it is much easier for me to enjoy the build-up than someone such as Jessica Ennis, who is carrying the hopes of a nation on her shoulders. She has admitted anything less than a gold medal will be viewed by the British public as a failure. That, frankly, is an unimaginable burden to bear and if she manages to cope with it and perform to her best to claim gold, it will be a phenomenal achievement.
My current home, the athletes' village, is unlike anything I've seen before. The scale of it is remarkable – it will house 17,000 people over the next two weeks, and has everything that a normal town has. The only word to describe the food hall is massive. It is the size of eight football pitches, seats 5500 people and as well as serving food from every corner of the globe it also has its own McDonalds. I am adhering strictly to a no junk food policy until after I've finished my competition as I fear that if I open the floodgates, they may never shut. Also, in the style of the Queen, I've ceased taking money out with me as the need for cash over the next couple of weeks is almost redundant. I could get used to this.
The badminton competition begins on Saturday, which unfortunately means it is unlikely that the badminton team will be able to attend the opening ceremony as standing around for five or six hours and not getting to bed until the early hours is not ideal preparation for competition.
At the moment I am not feeling nervous, only excited about participating in a home Olympic Games and I'm proud to be pulling on a GB shirt for the first time. I may not be expected to medal but I am looking forward to stepping on court with the support of the home crowd and finally being able to call myself an Olympian.