Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clark and Kellogg edged out in Masters semi-finals

EUROPEAN champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg were edged out by doubles world champions Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir at the BWF Super Series Masters semi-finals in Sabah, Malaysia, today.

The world No 4 pair and third seeds lost to the Indonesian top seeds 23-21 21-17 after letting slip two games points in the opener. The Indonesians took the game on their third game point.

The double English National champions were in touch at 14-13 in the second game before the Indonesians edged away to win on their second match point after 36 minutes.

In the final they will face Denmark's Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Juhl in the battle of the unbeaten pairs. In the semi-final they beat Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam despite the Thailand pair retiring in the third game against Widianto and Natsir in their finaljavascript:void(0) group match yesterday.

Yonex All England champion Tine Rasmussen was Europe's last hope in the women's singles but she went down 21-13 21-16 to former Chinese star and Hong Kong player Zhou Mi in their semi-final.

But Europe have one finalist in Peter Gade. The Dane qualified in second place in his group on countback (points won and lost) after he, Chan Yan Kit and Wong Choong Hann had each won one match and lost two.

And in the semi-final fourth seed Gade beat second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 21-10 21-10. Gade will face Lee Chong Wei or Taufik Hidayat in the men's singles final tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Clark and Kellogg through to Super Series Masters semi-finals

England's European mixed doubles champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are through to the BWF Supers Series Masters semi-finals in Sabah, Malaysia.

After losing their opening group match to Denmark's second seeds Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Juhl yesterday, they hit back to win their next two matches, today beating Lim Khim Wah and Wong Pei Tty of Malaysia 21-12 21-10.

That put the third seeds through to the last four and a clash with double world champions and top seeds Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir, who topped Group A with three wins.

But Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier won't be joining them in the last four after losing their third and final group match against seventh seeds Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa of Indonesia. After being beaten twice on day one, they went down 21-17 21-15.

Laybourn and Juhl will meet Limpele and Marissa in the semi-final even though Thailand's Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam won two matches. They retired at 1-1 in the deciding game of their match with Widianto and Natsir and, as a result, were dropped to bottom of the group table with 0 points.

There was some consolation for Blair today after a total of three defeats yesterday. He and England teenager Chris Adcock chalked up a men's doubles win when they defeated seventh-seeded Danes Anders Kristiansen and Simon Mollyhus 21-18 21-17. If they can beat the second seeds Latif and Tazari of Malaysia tonight they will make it into the semi-finals.

England's men's singles hope Andrew Smith played his third group match against former Olympic and 2005 world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia but after two tough three-game defeats against Joachim Persson and Sony Dwi Kuncoro on day one, he went down in straight games 21-8 21-17

To follow the evening session or weekend results check out or log on to to catch the live action from the Super Series Finals

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clark and Kellogg score England’s only Masters win on Day One

ANTHONY CLARK and Donna Kellogg lost their opening group match but won their second contest on a tough day for England at the BWF Super Series Masters finals in Sabah, Malaysia.

European champions and third seeds Clark and Donna Kellogg were eged out by Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Juhl of Denmark in their group opener 13-21 21-16 21-15.

But they returned to court to score England's only day-one win by beating Thailand's sixth seeds Songphon Anugritayawan and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul 21-13 21-16 to keep alive their semi-final hopes.

Tomorrow they face eighth seeds Lhim Kim Wah and Wong Pei Tty of Malaysia in their final group match.

There was agony for Robert Blair and Scotland's Imogen Bankier, who wasted three match points in their opening contest.

The 2007 Bank of Scotland Centenary International mixed doubles champions won the opening game against fifth seeds Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam of Thailand 21-12. But the Thailand pair levelled the match at 21-14.

In the decider the Anglo-Scottish fourth seeds and World No 8 pair led 20-19, 21-20 and 22-21 before the Thailanders snatched victory with their first match point to win the deciding game 24-22.

The defeat must have left Edinburgh-born Blair and Glasgow's Bankier dispirited because in their second mixed doubles match of the day they went down to top seeds and double world champions Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia 21-9 21-7 in just 18 minutes.

It was a tough first day for Blair. He also lost his opening men's doubles with Chris Adcock, falling to Korean third seeds Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae 21-17 12-21 21-11 and must win both doubles matches tomorrow to have chance of progressing into the semi-finals.

Blair and Adcock face second seeds Latif and Tazari of Malaysia and seventh seeds Anders Kristiansen and Simon Mollyhus of Denmark. On top of that Blair and Bankier take on Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa in the mixed as Blair faces three matches for the second day running.

In the men's singles England No 1 Andrew Smith went down to Joachim Persson of Denmark 21-14 14-21 21-12 and, despite another battling display in his second match, fell to second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 21-12 22-24 21-12.

Tomorrow Smith faces Taufik Hidayat, the former world and 2004 Olympic champion from Indonesia.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BADMINTON England scoop £20.8million Sport England award

BADMINTON England today took a giant step towards delivering its promise to develop the game at club level like never before after receiving a Sport England award of £20.8m spread over the next four years.

The funding, which is an increase of £7.5million on the previous four-year period, comes just two weeks after receiving £8.6m from UK Sport's Elite Funding Programme geared to producing Team GB badminton medallists at London 2012.

The Sport England award is crucial in helping BADMINTON England achieve its goals in getting more people playing the sport at school, club and community level as well as at the Elite end of the game.

Just a week ago badminton emerged as the most-played racket sport in Sport England's Active People Survey. Now BADMINTON England have the chance to push even further forward.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy received the news of the award while in Warsaw for last night's international clash between England and Poland. Before travelling home he said: "This award is great news for us and couldn't have come at a beter time.

"We have clearly been able to demonstrate the growth of English badminton in the last couple of years and we will never have a better opportunity to attract more people to our sport and get them playing what is a great game.

"We have the European Team Championships in Liverpool in February 2009 and the European Individual Championships in Manchester in April 2010. Then comes the World Championships in London in 2011 in the build-up to the Olympics in 2012.

"If those major events alongside our commitment to grass-roots badminton don't motivate people to take up our sport then nothing will - which is why over the next four years BADMINTON England will be working like never before at increasing the number of people playing badminton.

"But we cannot achieve our aims without getting more coaches into the game and into clubs and their local community. Neither can we without supporting our volunteers at club and county level. This will be a team effort that will make it happen.

"We are determined to make people appreciate that BADMINTON England isn't just about the sport at Elite level but about the development of the game at grass roots as a healthy activity for players of all ages and all standards.

"That means putting the focus on schools and junior players, club players, veterans and disability badminton for everyone and I am delighted that Sport England have shown such faith in us."

England edged out by Poland in Warsaw

England went down 3-2 to Poland in Warsaw last night in the return international following Ian Wright's squad's 5-0 victory in Swindon at the start of November.

But it was a night to remember for Cheshire's Helen Davies, who scored a debut victory over Anna Narel 21-11 21-17 to put England back in the match after losing the opening mixed doubles and men's singles.

Nathan Robertson, winning his 93rd cap, put up a spirited display in the mixed doubles with Jenny Wallwork before losing 22-20 21-18 to Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk.

In the men's singles Rajiv Ouseph could not repeat his Swindon win over Polish No 1 Prezemyslaw Wacha. going down 21-13 21-16.

After the women's singles win put the CenterParcs-backed Team England back in the match, it was down to David Lindley and Chris Langridge to try to complete the recovery. But they couldn't quite get the upper hand against the experienced men's doubles pair Mateusiak and Michal Logosz, who won 21-15 21-14 to give Poland a winning lead.

In fairness, this was a much stronger Poland side to the one which played in Swindon. But England at least had the satisfaction of taking the women's doubles with Wallork and Gabby White winning 21-18 21-15 against Malgorzata Kurdelska and Agnieszka Wojtkowska.

Results: Poland 3 England 2

Mixed doubles: Robert Mateusiak & Nadiezda Kostiuczyk bt Nathan Robertson & Jennifer Wallwork 22-20 21-18

Men's singles: Przemyslaw Wacha bt Rajiv Ouseph 21-13 21-16

Women's singles: Anna Narel lost to Helen Davies 21-11 21-17

Men's doubles: Robert Mateusiak & Michal Logosz bt David Lindley & Chris Langridge 21-15 21-14

Women's doubles: Malgorzata Kurdelska & Agnieszka Wojtkowska lost to Jenny Wallwork & Gabby White 21-18 21-15

Blair tackles Masters finals at the double

ANTHONY CLARK and Donna Kellogg go in search of a $42,000 jackpot when they compete in the BWF Yonex Sunrise Super Series Masters finals in Sabah, Malaysia from Thursday to Sunday. And joining them in these first finals is Robert Blair and Scotland's Imogen Bankier.

Blair and Bankier face a hectic start to their challenge when the fourth seeds meet Thailand's fifth seeds Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoughthongkam at in their opening Group A morning match tomorrow followed by Indonesian double world champions and top seeds Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in the evening session.

On Friday they complete their group campaign against another Indonesian pair, seventh seeds Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa.

In Group B third seeds and European champions Clark and Kellogg will take on Denmark's second seeds Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Juhl and Thailand's sixth seeds Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul tomorrow and Malaysia's eighth seeds Lim Khim Wah and Wong Pei Tty on Friday.

Blair will have a busy time of it as he is also in the men's doubles with England team-mate Chris Adcock. The pair are seeded eighth and in Group A will face Denmark's seventh seeds Anders Kristiansen and Simon Mollyhus, Malaysian second seeds Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Korean third seeeds Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae.

For Blair it all adds up to six matches in three days with the prospect of more to come.

England's Andrew Smith finds himself in the men's singles following the mass withdrawal of all China's players and the seventh seed is in a tough Group B.

He begins against Danish third seed Joachim Persson then faces second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro later in the day before completing his group programme on Friday against former world and Olympic champion and fifth seed Taufik Hidayat.

In Group A top seed Lee Chong Wei is up against Peter Gade, Chan Yan Kit and Wong Choong Hann.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Badminton participation still on the up

NEW research figures released today confirmed Badminton’s status as England’s most-played racket sport and highlighted its continued and sustained increase in participation since 2002.

The Sport England Active People Survey 2 canvassed 191,000 people across England about their sporting habits. Figures suggest that Badminton has continued to attract more players, with 19,000 more people aged 16+ now taking part at least once per week. Although the increase is not large enough over this one period to count as statistically significant it indicates that Badminton participation is still on the rise.

Badminton has the sixth-highest participation rate of any sport recognised by Sport England, which now also includes jogging as part of athletics and recreational cycling and competitive cycling as one sport. Overall 1.29% of adults take part in Badminton at least once a week (535 700 people). This is up from 1.27% two years ago, and places Badminton ahead of such sports as Tennis (1.18%), Squash (0.71%), Rugby Union (0.56%), and Cricket (0.49%).

A report commissioned by BADMINTON England earlier this year revealed that numbers playing the sport had increased by 22% between 2002 and 2006, bucking the general trend of static participation across most sports in that period.

George Wood, BADMINTON England’s Head of Development, said: “The new findings not only reinforce Badminton’s continued growth over this decade, but are in line with BADMINTON England’s funding targets for 2005 to 2009.

“This is extremely encouraging news as we await the outcome of our Sport England funding decision for the crucial period from 2009-2013. The statistics show the huge part that Badminton can play in delivering the legacy for London 2012 of more people participating in sport. “

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ouseph wins singles, Ellis and Eidestedt lift doubles in Ireland

Rajiv Ouseph won the men's singles title at the Yonex Irish International in Dublin yesterday (Sunday) as he warmed up for the defence of his English National title next month. Just three weeks ago the 21-year-old from Middlesex won the men's singles at the Bank of Scotland International Championships in Glasgow.

In the final Ouseph was too strong for Ireland's Olympic player Scott Evans, winning 21-5 21-19. The win will boost Ouseph’s world ranking from No 44.

Ouseph had defeated Denmark's Martin Delfs 21-10 21-10 in the quarter-finals and then outplayed another Dane, fifth seed Hans Kristian Vittinghus, 24-22 21-15 in the semi-finals.

Sixth seed Evans had prevented an all-English final when he beat Avon’s fourth seed Carl Baxter in a tight contest 21-19 21-18. Baxter had defeated Sweden's Mathias Wigardt 21-17 21-19 in the quarter-finals while team-mate Harry Wright gave Evans a fright before the Irishman won 21-15 13-21 21-11.

England made it a double when Andrew Ellis (Yorks) and Richard Eidestedt (Bucks) added the Irish men's doubles title to their win in Scotland.

In the final the third seeds beat unseeded Danes Martin Delfs and Morten T Kronborg 21-13 21-16, having knocked out the fifth and seventh seeds in the previous two rounds.

They will now rise from No 33 in Thursday's ranking list and can hope to overtake England's highest ranked pair of Rob Adcock (Notts) and Robin Middleton (Yorks) at No 31.

In the women's doubles Heather Olver (Sussex) and Holland's Samantha Barning just missed out on a place in the final when they went down to Duch pair Patty Stolzenbach and Paulien Van Dooremalen 21-15 21-16.

In the quarter-finals the Anglo-Dutch pair had knocked out fourth seeds Maria Helsboel and Anne Skelbaek 21-13 21-10.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

GB Badminton’s £8.6m boost for London 2012

BADMINTON can today start building in earnest for the London 2012 Olympics after being awarded £8.6million under UK Sport's Elite Funding Programme.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy said: "I am delighted that badminton continues to have the full support of UK Sport to deliver its future medal hopes.

"We are very much aware of the current climate in which the Government have been trying to secure the level of funding required to build on the great success Team GB enjoyed in Beijing.

"Having not medaled in Beijing, there was clearly a risk to us where any removal of funding would have had a devastating impact on our aspirations to see GB athletes on the podium in London.

"After a nervous couple of hours this morning I took a call from John Steele, Chief Executive at UK Sport, and was delighted to hear that we had been awarded just over £8.6m for this Olympic cycle - a figure in line with our hopes and expectations.

"What this means is that we can invest exactly where we need to - that being in our athletes. You can rest assured that we will give the athletes we believe can deliver for us, the best support possible in an environment that is conducive to success."

Team GB won a bronze medal through Simon Archer and Joanne Goode at the Sydney Olympics and a silver medal through Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms (pictured) at Athens 2004.

Robertson has vowed to carry on in the hope of climaxing his career with a medal in London and, since Emms' retirement, he is now competing with new partner Jenny Wallwork. Players like Robertson, Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg will provide the experienced backbone to a squad which has a rich vein of talent coming through in time for the London Games.

A total of £292 million of confirmed investment has been allocated by UK Sport to British Olympic and Paralympic sports ahead of the London Games in 2012.

This funding, building on the £265 million invested for Beijing, has enabled UK Sport to agree a target of a “Top Four” finish in London, aiming to win more medals in more sports than in Beijing and thereby ensure the most successful Olympic performance by a British team for 100 years.

The Paralympic target is to retain second place in the Medal Table behind China, again winning more medals in more sports than in Beijing.

A total of £247 million has been invested in Olympic sport for the London cycle. The funded sports are: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Diving, Equestrian, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, Taekwondo and Triathlon.

The Olympic sports that are still to have their funding confirmed are: Fencing, Handball, Shooting, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

On the Paralympic side, there are a number of significant increases in funding for sports in order to ensure that there are sufficient resources available to our most successful programmes.

A total of £45 million has been confirmed today to Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Wheelchair Basketball (Men), Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Tennis.

The Paralympic sports that are still to have their funding confirmed are: Fencing, Goalball, Volleyball, and Wheelchair Basketball (women).

Except for Wheelchair Tennis, Football and Tennis disciplines will receive no funding from UK Sport as they are deemed able to self fund.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blair and Bankier join Clark and Kellogg in Masters finals

ROBERT BLAIR and Imogen Bankier were today named in the line-up for the Badminton World Federation's first Super Series Masters final at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, from December 18-21.

The Anglo-Scottish pair will join world No 4 ranked pair Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire), who had already assured themselves of a place in the finals thanks to a superb year which has seen them win the European title and finish runners-up in three Super Series events - the Swiss, Singapore and French Opens.

Blair (Leics) and Glasgow's Bankier, who was 21 two weeks ago, are up to No 9 in the world after building on a quarter-final showing at the Yonex All England Championships in March to produce five more quarter-finals .They capped that last month with a semi-final surge at the Denmark Open in Odense.

The two pairs are the only British players to qualify for the finals.

The competition, with a US$500,000 prize pool, will be played on a round-robin format with two pools of four. The first and second placed players or pairs in each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

“It’s fantastic to have the Finals this year and we have a very good spread of countries represented in Kota Kinabalu,” said BWF Secretary General Stuart Borrie. “This will be the best of the best and a fitting end to this Olympic year."

The qualified players/pairs (with Super Series ranking points in brackets) are:

Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas, 58240 pts), Chen Jin (Chn, 52180), Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina, 49320), Joachim Persson (Den, 47400), Peter Gade (Den, 44260), Lin Dan (Chn, 41800), Taufik Hidayat (Ina, 41580), Chan Yan Kit (Hkg, 32160).

Men’s doubles: Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan (Ina, 65540) Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari (Mas, 61600), Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen (Den, 52160), Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae (Kor, 45440),
Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den, 40920), Candra Wijaya-Tony Gunawan (Ina-USA, 36540),
Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas, 35940), Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun (Chn, 34280).

Women’s singles: Zhou Mi (Hkg, 72760), Tine Rasmussen (Den, 61320), Wang Chen (Hkg, 54740),
Zhu Lin (Chn, 53000), Lu Lan (Chn, 49980), Pi Hongyan (Fra, 39600), Xu Huaiwen (Ger, 36720),
Hwang Hye Youn (Kor, 35400).

Women’s doubles: Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui (Mas, 64340), Du Jing-Yu Yang (Chn, 54660), Lilyana Natsir-Vita Marissa (Ina, 51560), Zhao Yunlei-Cheng Shu (Chn, 39880), Lena Frier Kristiansen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den, 39600), Ha Jung Eun-Kim Kin Jung (Kor, 39540), Maeda Miyuki-Suetsuna Satoko (Jpn, 30960), Lee Kyung Won-Lee Hyo Jung (Kor, 28460).

Mixed doubles: Nova Widianto-Lilyana Natsir (Ina, 64160), He Hanbin-Yu Yang (Chn, 51360),
Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den, 48720), Lee Yong Dae-Lee Hyo Jung (Kor, 45460),
Anthony Clark-Donna Kellogg (Eng, 45120), Xie Zhongbo-Zhang Yawen (Chn, 39880),
Robert Blair-Imogen Bankier (Eng-Sco, 37210), Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkam (Tha, 36840).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Clark and Robertson's brave run ends in Hong Kong semi-finals

Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson, the last England badminton pair in action at the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open, went down in the men's doubles semi-finals today.

The English National champions lost 21-19 21-17 in 35 minutes to Korean third seeds Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung.

It was Lee Yong Dae who defeated Robertson in the Olympic mixed doubles in what turned out to be his last match with Gail Emms.

But this Hong Kong week, when Robertson and Clark came through qualifying to reach the semi-finals, was the best performance by the former European silver medallists since they teamed up again after the Olympic Games and will boost their BWF world ranking when the new list comes out on Thursday.