Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bok and Langridge topple Robertson and Wallwork at Nationals

FOUR-TIMES champion Nathan Robertson (Notts) crashed out of the mixed doubles in the English National Championships semi-finals at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.

He and Jenny Wallwork (Yorks), who are in the England squad for the European Team Championship in Liverpool in mid-February, lost to Chris Langridge (Surrey) and Sarah Bok (Yorks) 21-18 18-21 21-16 in 56 minutes of tense badminton action.
In the final the pair, who until this tournament had not won a game together never mind a match, will face European champions Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) after their 21-12 21-11 win over fourth seeds Chris Adcock and Gabby White.

Bok said: “There’s no way we’ve ever played as well as that before” while Langridge, runner-up in the men’s doubles for the last two years, added: “It’s great to beat a big name. After all, he’s the England player that everyone has heard of.”

Langridge also blamed himself for the pair not winning in straight games. “We had a good lead in the second and it was my fault we lost it.”

Whatever happens in the final Bok and Langridge want to show they can be a force in London 2012. “Our biggest aim is to qualify for London,” said Bok.

Langridge added: “The Olympics in London is every player’s dream. There are stepping stones ahead and one of them is to make the coaches realise we are quite a good pair.”

In the men’s singles final defending champion Rajiv Ouseph (Middx) will meet second seed Carl Baxter (Avon) after their straight-games wins over Ben Beckman (Surrey) and Harry Wright (Lancs) respectively.

Jersey top seed Elizabeth Cann is chasing her fourth title in five years and booked her place in the final with a 21-17 21-10 win over Sarah Walker (Essex). Three-time runner-up and second seed Jill Pittard (Warks) will meet her in the final after her straight-game win over Helen Davies (Cheshire) 21-11 21-13.

Robertson was still in the hunt for one title when he and Clark, the defending champions, tackled the doubles semi-finals later in the night.

But Bok and Langridge were also in semi-final action in the level doubles as well.

Singles seeds through to the English National semi-finals

THIRD SEED Harry Wright is through to the semi-finals for the first time since he made it as a teenager by overcoming former England squad member Toby Honey in the quarter-finals.

Wright (Lancs) beat the sixth seed from Surrey 21-18 21-15 and now faces second seed Carl Baxter (Avon), who put out 2002 champion Mark Constable 21-13 21-16.

For Wright it is the first time he has been beyond the second round since the Championships came to Manchester six years ago.

Top seed and defending champion Rajiv Ouseph (Middlesex) is though to tonight's last four after beating eighth seed Jamie Bonsels (Surrey) 21-16 21-13.

He will meet Surrey's Ben Beckman, who put out Nottinghamshire's seventh seed Neil White 21-14 21-11.

In the women's singles the game attracting most attention was the clash between Warwickshire second seed Jill Pittard and 16-year-old Panuga Riou of Hampshire.

Pittard had just too much experience for the youngster and booked her semi-final place with a 21-16 21-15 win. She now faces Cheshire's Helen Davies, who knocked out Fontaine Chapman of Warwickshire in the only singles quarter-final to go to three games.

Davies won 21-16 15-21 21-9 in what was also the longest singles quarter-final at 41 minutes.

In the top half of the draw Jersey’s No 1 seed Elizabeth Cann, chasing her fourth title in five years, cruised past Nottinghamshire's Alexandra Lindley 21-10 21-10 to set up a semi-final with fourth seed Sarah Walker (Essex), who beat Yorkshire’s Sarah Milne 21-19 21-11.

In the doubles events Nathan Robertson, battling with a streaming cold, eased into the men's doubles quarter-finals with Anthony Clark (both Notts). They knocked out Dorset’s Mark James and Cheshire’s Matthew Sprake 21-7 21-11.

Clark and Derbyshire’s Donna Kellogg, the European champions, defeated Yorkshire’s Marcus Ellis and Surrey’s Sam Ward 21-6 21-10 to set up an exciting semi-final against young stars Chris Adcock of Notts and Gabby White of Yorkshire. The teenagers needed three games to get past Robin Middleton and Mariana Agathangelou 21-15 10-21 21-15.

Surrey’s Chris Langridge and Yorkshire’s Sarah Bok scored the big shock by knocking out third seeds and world No 16s David Lindley of Notts and Suzanne Rayappan of Herts 15-21 21-17 21-15 and will now meet Robertson and Lancashire’s Jenny Wallwork. The second seeds beat Dean George and Sarah Walker 21-19 21-15.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ouseph on the title trail

DEFENDING CHAMPION Rajiv Ouseph got off to a flying start when the English National Championships got under way today at the Velodrome in SportCity, Manchester today.
The top seed from Middlesex, who is world No 40, outplayed Yorkshire’s Richard Morris in the opening round of the men’s singles 21-8 21-15 in the morning session then returned in the afternoon to book his place in tomorrow’s quarter-finals by beating Surrey’s Robert Kettle 21-12 21-9.

Eighth seed Jamie Bonsels of Yorkshire will be his next opponent after he edged past Shropshire’s Mark Sellwood 22-20 21-15.

Jersey’s Mark Constable, the 2002 champion and the only other player in the draw apart from Ouseph to have appeared in the final, booked his place in the last eight with a close 21-15 23-21 victory over Yorkshire’s Alex Marritt. Fifth seed Constable, who was representing Warwickshire when he was champion, now meets second seed Carl Baxter of Avon.

Constable’s Jersey team-mate Elizabeth Cann is top seed in the women’s singles and is bidding for a third title in a row and a fourth in five years – all in Manchester. She was in action in the evening session against Hertfordshire’s England international Rachel Howard and Cann came through 21-19 21-11.

In the mixed doubles Nathan Robertson (Notts) and Jenny Wallwork (Yorks) returned to tournament action after missing the Malaysia and Korea Opens. The second seeds faced a tricky second round against Nick Ponting (Gloucs) and Julie Bradbury (Oxfordshire), two 40-somethings making a sentimental return to the Nationals more than 13 years after being doubles champions.

Robertson and Wallwork, the second seeds, were made to work for their place in the last eight before winning 21-14 21-17.

European champions and top seeds Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) got their bid for a hat-trick of wins off to a sound start with a 21-7 21-16 second-round win over Ben Stawski (Warks) and Lauren Smith (Cumbria) after a first-round bye.

Clark and Robertson team up as top seeds and defending champions in the men’s doubles where Clark is bidding for a record-equalling eight title in a row and a fifth with Robertson.

Play at the English Nationals continues with the quarter-finals tomorrow (Sat, 10am) with the semi-finals in the evening session (5.30pm).

Ian Moss is Badminton England's new Performance Director

BADMINTON England today announced the appointment of Ian Moss as their Performance Director as Team GB step up their plans to deliver medal success in London 2012.

He joins badminton from Rowing Canada Aviron, where in the past four years he has transformed them into a nation who brought home medals in four of the five disciplines in Beijing last summer, and he is seen as the man with the pedigree to take Team GB to the Podium.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy acted quickly after disappointing results in Beijing and said: “What was obvious to everyone after the Games was that GB had to step up another level if we are to consistently compete for and achieve medal success and we immediately set about the search for someone who could lead the Performance programme.

“Ian met every aspect of the criteria we had set ourselves; extensive World and Olympic experience, clear vision, a great understanding of the environment we are in and tremendous leadership, organisation and decision-making skills. Vitally, he has proved he can come into a system, grasp what needs to be done, and progress to win medals. He is an outstanding appointment for us.”

Prior to joining Rowing Canada Aviron, Moss was Executive Director with Badminton Canada for eight years and he is relishing the opportunity to rekindle his passion for the sport with BADMINTON England.

Moss, 49, who was born and raised in England before moving to Canada, said: “This is certainly a very exciting opportunity for me personally and one that I look forward to with great anticipation. The right building blocks are certainly in place for success and I believe I can bring the right style of leadership to the programme in order to achieve medal success in 2012 and beyond.”

He will officially take up his post in April but will begin to make his mark immediately with the programme players and coaches.

The next generation of players who hope to be part of the GB programme can be seen this weekend at their respective National Championships.

And Moss will see them first hand when he attends the European Team Championship at the Echo Arena, Liverpool from February 10-15 because England, Scotland and Wales are drawn in the same group. He will also be able to see many of those players in action again when he visits the Yonex All England Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham from March 3-8.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gade in Denmark Squad as England prepare for Euro bid

TEAM ENGLAND today learned that they will have to overcome Denmark at their strongest if they are to win the European Team Badminton Championship at the Echo Arena Liverpool from February 10-15.

With just under two weeks to go to the start of the Championship, all 32 competing nations submitted their squads to Badminton Europe today.

And after weeks of speculation about the Denmark line-up, former BADMINTON England Performance Director Finn Traerup Hansen, who is now Denmark’s head coach, has relented and named his strongest possible squad – including singles stars Peter Gade and Tine Rasmussen.

Gade is the man in form having just won the Korean Open Super Series men’s singles title while Rasmussen is the 2008 Yonex All England women’s singles champion as well as this month’s Korea Open winner. The Danish team, who are holders, 12-times winners and top seeds, have named 18 players in their squad although Traerup may well hold back his big guns until the knockout stages.

Team England were among the first to name their squad at the start of this month and team manager Ian Wright can draw on the experience of new European mixed doubles champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg as well as the men’s doubles partnership of Clark and Nathan Robertson, who reached the Malaysian Open semi-finals in early January. Those three players have nearly more than 250 international appearances between them.

In contrast Liverpool’s Helen Davies is the rookie in the team, having been selected after making a winning debut against Poland in Warsaw in December.

Fourth seeds Poland or fifth seeds Holland are Team England’s likely semi-final opponents if the second seeds and former champions (1978 and 1984) come through Group 8 to earn their place in the knockout quarter-finals. There they are expected to face eighth seeds Ukraine.

Poland have named world No.9 Przemyslaw Wacha and doubles specialists Michel Logosz, Robert Mateusiak and Kamila Augustyn in their line-up while the Dutch have also named their strongest squad with Eric Pang and Dicky Palyama for men’s singles and 2002 European champion Yao Jie and Judith Meulendijks for women’s singles.

Third seeds Germany are Denmark’s likely semi-final opponents and their strength lies in the women’s events where they can call on 2006 and 2008 European champion Xu Huaiwen or Juliane Schenk to play both singles and doubles if necessary.

England start their campaign in the evening session (6pm) on Tuesday, February 10 against the Czech Republic before facing Wales on the Wednesday and Scotland on the Thursday evening.

The Scotland squad includes Jillie Cooper, who recently won the Bank of Scotland International and Yonex Welsh International women’s doubles titles with England squad member Mariana Agathangelou while Super Series Masters mixed doubles finalists Imogen Bankier and Edinburgh-born England player Robert Blair are also in opposing camps

When Wales and Scotland meet on the opening night it will bring Andrew Bowman up against Martyn Lewis in the doubles. The pair won the Welsh International men’s doubles together in November.

A total of 410 players representing a total of 32 nations were confirmed today and can be viewed on

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy said: “It’s great for the fans that Denmark have named players like Peter Gade in their squad and I am delighted to see such a top-quality entry for the Team Championship. It will whet the appetite for the Individual Championship when it comes to Manchester in April next year.

“But first we want to get behind Team England. The home fans can play a vital part if England are to end that 25-year wait for another team title.”

The groups competing over the first three days of the European Team Championship (with seeding in brackets) are:


Denmark (1) France (7) Germany (3) Russia (6)
Spain Cyprus Slovakia Latvia
Slovenia Portugal Estonia Norway
Ireland Switzerland Sweden Belarus


Netherlands (5) Poland (4) Ukraine (8) England (2)
Austria Finland Italy Czech Republic
Israel Lithuania Hungary Wales
Belgium Bulgaria Iceland Scotland

Final positions in the 2008 European Team Championship:
1 Denmark, 2 England, 3 Poland, 4 Netherlands, 5 Germany, 6 Russia, 7 France, 8 Ukraine, 9 Scotland, 10 Bulgaria,11 Sweden, 12 Czech Republic, 13 Iceland, 14 Finland, 15 Ireland, 16 Estonia.

Denmark have won the last seven European titles and 12 in all since the competition began in 1972. England have been the champion nation five times but have not struck gold since the 1984 Europeans in Preston – the last time the event was staged in England.

Sweden are the only other nation to have been champions (1992 and 1994) and they are in Group 3 with third seeds Germany, Slovakia and Estonia.

It is the first time the European Team Championship has not been played concurrently with the European Individual Championships. Instead, Manchester’s MEN Arena will host the European Individual Championship in April 2010.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tricky English Nationals test for Robertson and Wallwork

PAST WINNERS Nick Ponting (Gloucs) and Julie Bradbury (Oxfordshire) are on course to meet second seeds Nathan Robertson (Notts) and Jenny Wallwork (Yorks) in the second round of the mixed doubles after the draw for this weekend’s English National Badminton Championships at Manchester Velodrome was published today.

Ponting, like Robertson, has won the mixed four times but the 42-year-old’s wins came between 1992 and 1995. Bradbury, 42 next month, won her one mixed title with Simon Archer in 1996 but this season Ponting and Bradbury have been the pair to beat on the Over 40s circuit.

Two-time defending champions Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire), the European champions, begin their hat-trick bid with a second-round clash against the winners of the first-round meeting between Tom Armstrong (Leics) & Catherine Grant (Warks) and Ben Stawski (Warwicks) & Lauren Smith (Cumberland)

Clark and Kellogg are on course to meet former world junior silver medallists and fourth seeds Chris Adcock (Notts) and Gabby White (Yorks) in the semi-finals while world No 16 pair David Lindley and Suzanne Rayappan are Robertson and Wallwork’s likely semi-final opponents if the event goes to seeding.

Four-times champions and holders Clark and Robertson are top seeds in the men’s doubles where the winners of the first-round clash between Gary Fox (Lancs) & Richard Morris (Yorks) and Chris Evans (Hants) & Adam Smith (Avon) present the first obstacle. Clark is chasing his eighth men’s doubles title in a row.

The big test will come if they move on to meet joint third seeds Richard Eidestedt (Bucks) and Andrew Ellis (Yorks) in the semi-finals. Eidestedt and Ellis are England’s highest ranked pair in the world at No 21 but Clark and Robertson produced their best performance since teaming up again when the reached the Malaysian Open semi-finals earlier this month and are now up to No 46 after just a handful of events back together..

Second seeds Chris Adcock (Notts) and former champion Robert Blair (Leics), ranked
No 22 in the world, are on course to meet fourth seeds Chris Langridge (Surrey) and David Lindley (Notts) in the semi-finals. Langridge and Lindley were runners-up in the Swedish International in Stockholm on Sunday and that performance should boost their world ranking from No 58.

Rajiv Ouseph (Middx) defends his men’s singles title as top seed and starts against Yorkshire’s Morris. His first real test should come against Yorkshire’s eighth seed Jamie Bonsels in the quarter-finals with Surrey’s Ben Beckman the likely semi-final obstacle.

The big danger is second seed Carl Baxer (Avon), who reached the semi-finals in Stockholm. He starts against Warwickshire’s Chris Dakin but Jersey’s fifth seed and former champion Mark Constable might present his first real problem if they meet in the quarter-finals. Constable, the 2002 champion, is the only other player in the draw to have reached the final apart from Ouseph.

Jersey’s Elizabeth Cann is favourite to win her fourth women’s singles title but might face a difficult second-round test if she comes up against Hertfordshire’s England international Rachel Howard.

Three-time runner-up Jill Pittard (Warks) is the second seed and can expect to meet third seed and new England international Helen Davies (Cheshire) in the semi-finals. But first she may have to dispose of promising Hampshire teenager Panuga Riou in the quarter-finals.

In the women’s doubles Kellogg is bidding to win the title three years in a row with different partners following successes with Gail Emms and Tracey Hallam. Kellogg and Suzanne Rayappan (Herts) are top seeds and start off their title bid against Hampshire pair Jo Dix and Kelly Holdway.

They can anticipate a tricky semi-final against former England players Sarah Hardaker (Hants) and former champion Jo Nicholas (Beds), the fourth seeds.

Yorkshire duo Wallwork and White, England’s No 1 women’s doubles pair for the European Team Championships in Liverpool from February 10-15, are second seeds and start their bid against Howard and Nicola Cerfontyne (Dorset).

They are likely to face third seeds Mariana Agathangelou and Sarah Bok in the semi-finals but to get there the Avon-Yorkshire pair may have to overcome three-time champion Bradbury and Heather Olver (Sussex) if they meet in the second round.

Play in these sixth English National Championships start at 10am on Friday and continue until the five finals on Sunday afternoon. A record £12,000 prize fund is on offer and a total of 149 players (97 men and 52 women) from as far away as Northumberland, Guernsey and Jersey have entered.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Langridge and Lindley, Adcock and Olver miss out in Stockholm finals

Unseeded David Lindley and Chris Langridge went down in the final of the men's doubles at the Swedish International in Stockholm while Rob Adcock and Heather Olver had to settle for runners-up spot after winning an all-England semi-final with Robin Middleton and Mariana Agathangelou to reach the mixed doubles final.

Lindley and Langridge lost a 60-minute final against Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato despite taking the first game. The England pair finally went down 15-21 21-14 21-17.

Unseeded Adcock and Olver reached the mixed doubles final with a 21-15 23-21 win over Robin Middleton and Mariana Agathangelou on Saturday but the Scottish International runners-up went down in the final against Valeriy Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus of Ukraine 21-16 21-11.

In the semi-finals Langridge and Lindley beat Croatia's Zvonimir Durkinjak and China's Hong Mao 21-17 21-18 to earn a final showdown with Kawamae and Sato. The Japanese pair knocked out Polish third seeds Adam Cwalina and Wojciech Szkudlarczyk 21-19 21-11.

But there was disappointment in the singles when eighth Carl Baxter lost to Denmark's fifth seed and European Team Championship squad member Jan O. Jorgensen 21-13 21-16.


Eighth seed Carl Baxter is through to the semi-finals of the Swedish International in Stockholm after English National champions Rajiv Ouseph and Elizabeth Cann made early exits from the singles events on Friday.

Top seeds David Lindley and Suzanne Rayappan were also among the second- round casualties in the mixed doubles.

But Baxter defeated Finnish fourth seed Ville Lang 21-17 21-14 in the quarter-finals to earn a crack at Denmark's European Team Champinship squad member Jan O Jorgensen, who toppled top seed Eric Pang 22-20 22-20. Brice Leverdez of France faces Dutchman Dicky Palyama in the other semi-final.

In the mixed doubles Rob Adcock and Heather Olver won their quarter-final with Sweden's Tim Foo and Russia's Anastasia Kudinova 21-17 21-17 while Middleton and Agathangelou put out French second seeds Baptise Careme and Laura Choinet 16-21 21-16 21-12.

That helped make up for Middleton's quarter-final exit in the men's doubles with Marcus Ellis, falling to Polish third seeds Adam Cwalina and Wojciech Szkudlarczyk 21-18 21-14.

But Lindley and Chris Langridge won their quarter-final against Japan's Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata 21-12 21-17 and now face Croatian Zvonimir Durkinjak and China's Hong Mao.

In the women's doubles quarters third seeds Olver and Rayappan went out in a tight clash 21-18 21-19 against Bulgaria's Petya Nedelcheva and Dimitria Popstoikova.

In Friday's early rounds seventh seed Rajiv Ouseph was beaten by Denmark's Kasper Ipsen 21-15 18-21 21-16 while fifth seed Elizabeth Cann fell to China's Xi Zhang 21-17 21-14.

But the biggest blow was the defeat of world No 16s Lindley and Rayappan to Bulgaria's Stilian Makarski and Diana Dimova 21-15 12-21 21-18 in the second round.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kellogg top Nationals seed with new partner Rayappan

DONNA KELLOGG has been named No 1 seed in the women’s doubles at the English National Badminton Championships as she aims to lift the title with a third different partner in the last three Championships.

The Derbyshire star, who won four of her six titles with Gail Emms, retained the crown last year with Commonwealth singles champion Tracey Hallam.

But when the English Nationals get under way at the Velodrome in Manchester’s SportCity on January 30, she will be defending her title with Hertfordshire’s Suzanne Rayappan. The young Yorkshire pair of Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White are seeded to meet Kellogg and Rayappan in the final on Sunday February 1.

Kellogg, who is chasing a seventh women’s doubles title in total since her first with Joanne Goode in 1998, is also bidding for her fifth mixed doubles title - and her third in a row with Anthony Clark. They are top seeds in the mixed ahead of Clark’s friend and Nottinghamshire team-mate Nathan Robertson, who is now partnering Wallwork following the retirement of Emms after the Beijing Olympics.

Clark and Robertson, semi-finalists at this month’s Malaysian Open, are also top seeds in the men’s doubles where the defending champions are bidding for a fifth title together. Clark is going for an eighth title in a row. Former champion Robert Blair (Leics) and Chris Adcock (Notts) are second seeds.

Middlesex’s 2008 champion Rajiv Ouseph is top seed in the men’s singles ahead of Avon’s Carl Baxter while in the women’s singles Elizabeth Cann, who won last year for Middlesex, is back representing Jersey and is the title favourite as she bids for a fourth singles crown.

Three-times runner-up Jill Pittard (Warwickshire) is second seed with Cheshire’s Helen Davies, who has just been named in the Team England squad for the European Team Championship at Echo Arena Liverpool from February 10-15, the third seed.

This is the sixth English National Badminton Championships to be staged at the Velodrome and a record £12,000 prize fund is on offer as a total of 149 players (97 men and 52 women) from as far away as Northumberland, Guernsey and Jersey have entered.

The English National Championships are being staged at the Velodrome thanks to the special partnership between BADMINTON England, Manchester City Council, Carlton, badminton retailers and specialist building validation company Imperial Consultants, with invaluable support from the Manchester Evening News.

Cllr Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "We are very pleased to welcome back the English National Badminton Championships to Manchester in 2009 as part of our exciting calendar of sporting events and are looking forward to seeing the high level of sports competition that the players bring to the city.”

Men’s singles:
1 Rajiv Ouseph (Middlesex)
2 Carl Baxter (Avon)
3 Harry Wright (Lancashire)
4 Ben Beckman (Surrey)
5 Mark Constable (Jersey)
6 Toby Honey (Surrey)
7 Neil White (Nottinghamshire)
8 Jamie Bonsels (Yorkshire)

Women's singles:
1 Elizabeth Cann (Jersey)
2 Jill Pittard (Wariwckshire)
3 Helen Davies (Cheshire)
4 Sarah Walker (Essex)

Men’s doubles:
1 Nathan Robertson & Anthony Clark (Nottinghamshire)
2 Robert Blair (Leics) & Chris Adcock (Nottinghamshire)
3 Richard Eidestedt (Bucks) & Andrew Ellis (Yorkshire)
4 Chris Langridge (Surrey) & David Lindley (Nottinghamshire)

Women’s doubles:
1 Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) & Suzanne Rayappan (Herts)
2 Jenny Wallwork & Gabby White (Yorkshire)
3 Mariana Agathangelou (Avon) & Sarah Bok (Yorkshire)
4 Sarah Hardaker (Middlesex) & Jo Nicholas (Bedfordshire)

Mixed doubles:
1 Anthony Clark (Nottinghamshire) & Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire)
2 Nathan Robertson (Nottinghamshire) & Jenny Wallwork (Yorkshire)
3 David Lindley (Nottinghamshire) & Suzanne Rayappan (Hertfordshire)
4 Chris Adcock (Nottinghamshire) & Gabby White (Yorkshire)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

England players warm up in Stockholm for the Nationals

ENGLAND'S Helen Davies and Rachel Howard came through the qualifying rounds to reach the main draw at the Swedish International in Stockholm today.

But Panuga Riou was unlucky to come up against second qualifying seed Carola Bott of Germany and went down 23-21 21-9.

Howard clinched her place in the main draw by beating third seed Barbara Matias of France 26-24 21-15 while seventh seed Davies won a tough three-game battle against Poland's Malgorzata Kurdelska 14-21 21-18 21-13.

Howard's reward is an all-English clash with seventh seed Jill Pittard in the first round on Friday.

In the men's qualifying Ben Beckman defeated Denmark's Kristian Midtgaard in three games in his opening contest 22-20 13-21 21-15 but lost in the second round to Stilian Makarski of Bulgaria 21-15 21-15.

Jamie Bonsels went out in his opening match againsst Denmark's Christian Bruun Hensen of Denmark 18-21 21-15 21-14.

In mixed doubles qualifying Robin Middleton and Mariana Agathangelou earned a place in the main draw with wins over two Danish pairs. They beat Mikkel Elbjorn and Maria Helsbol 21-18 21-18 then put out third seeds Mads Pieler Kolding and Line Damkjaer Kruse 21-15 21-16. That earned them a first-round clash with Poland's Adam Cwalina and Malgorzata Kurdelska.

David Lindley and Suzanne Rayappan, the top seeds, had a first round bye.

In the men's singles seventh seed Rajiv Ouseph starts against Kasper Ipsen while eighth seed Carl Baxter meets another Dane, Christian Lind Thomsen.

Dutchman Eric Pang is the top men's seed.

In the women's singles Elizabeth Cann is fifth seed and starts her bid against China's Xi Zhang. Bulgaria's Petya Nedelcheva is top seed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bumper entry for English Nationals at Velodrome

THE sixth English National Badminton Championships to be staged at the Velodrome in SportCity Manchester has once again pulled in a bumper, top-class entry.

All five titles will be defended by 2008 winners between January 30-February 1 with new European mixed doubles champions Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) both bidding to retain their two doubles titles.

The pair are aiming for a third successive mixed doubles title while Clark is going for an eighth consecutive men’s doubles title as he defends his crown with his friend, Nathan Robertson (Notts).

Former world champion and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Robertson is sure to be a threat in the mixed with new partner Jenny Wallwork (Yorks), following Gail Emms’ retirement. But Clark and Robertson will be out to make it five men’s doubles titles together having also won in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Kellogg is bidding to retain the women’s doubles title with a third different partner in a row. She won her third consecutive title with Emms two years ago, took the title last year with Tracey Hallam when Emms was unwell, and will this year bid for glory with Suzanne Rayappan of Hertfordshire. Kellogg has seven women’s doubles titles to her name, having won her first title back in 1998 with 2000 Olympic mixed bronze medallist Jo Goode.

In the men’s singles Rajiv Ouseph will defend the title he won for the first time last year – and 2002 winner Mark Constable (Jersey) is the only former champion in the line-up following the retirement of past winners Nick Kidd and Aamir Ghaffar.

In the women’s singles Jersey’s Elizabeth Cann, who is up to No 28 in the world, will be bidding for her fourth title, having won in 2005, 2007 and 2008. She is the only woman in the draw to have won the title.

A record £12,000 prize fund is on offer at the 2009 Championships and a total of 149 players (97 men and 52 women) from as far away as Northumberland, Guernsey and Jersey have entered.

Among the surprise mixed doubles entries are former champions Nick Ponting and Julie Bradbury. Ponting (Gloucs) was a men’s doubles winner as far back as 1991 while Bradbury won the women’s singles that year and is the last player to have won three different titles, having won three women’s doubles titles with Gill Clark and Jo Goode (twice) and mixed doubles with Simon Archer. Nine-times men’s doubles winner Archer is back for another shot this year with Herfordshire’s Victor Liew.

Among the younger entries, Hampshire teenager Panuga Riou is the rising star in the women’s singles while in the doubles events former world junior silver medallists Gabby White (Yorks) and Chris Adcock (Notts) will be out to challenge for the doubles and mixed titles. White partners Wallwork in women’s doubles while Adcock teams up with former champion Robert Blair (Leics) in men’s doubles.

The English National Championships are being staged at the Velodrome thanks to the special partnership between BADMINTON England, Manchester City Council, Carlton, badminton retailers and specialist building validation company Imperial Consultants, with invaluable support from the Manchester Evening News.

Cllr Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "We are very pleased to welcome back the English National Badminton Championships to Manchester in 2009 as part of our exciting calendar of sporting events and are looking forward to seeing the high level of sports competition that the players bring to the city.”

2008 Champions:
Men’s singles: Rajiv Ouseph (Middx)
Women’s singles: Elizabeth Cann (Jersey)
Men’s doubles: Anthony Clark & Nathan Robertson (Notts)
Women’s doubles: Tracey Hallam (Staffs) & Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire)
Mixed doubles: Anthony Clark (Notts) & Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Premier League boost for Badminton

BADMINTON England today joined forces with the greatest football league in the world as it continues to deliver its ambitions to increase participation.

Supported by the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, the project will see BADMINTON England partner with every Premier League football club to offer thousands of young people between age of 11 - 16 years the chance to play badminton.

The initiative, which is being funded by the Government was launched by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club today where young budding badminton players got the chance to hit on court with England international and Tottenham star Jonathon Woodgate and BADMINTON England Ambassador and former Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive, Adrian Christy said: “We are delighted to be involved with this unique and exciting project.

"We all know how big a part football plays in the lives of young people and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to work creatively to ensure more young people get exposed to our sport through their school and for them to join badminton clubs the length and breadth of the country."

The first phase of the project will see links developed between five Premier League clubs - Tottenham, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion - and the schools and selected badminton clubs in their respective catchment areas.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blair and Bankier clock up squad's first win in Korea

Third seeds Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier built on a first-round bye to reach the quarter-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul today.

England's Blair and Scotland's Bankier won a tight match 21-18 15-21 21-18 against Taipei's Fang Chieh Min and Cheng Wen Hsing.

They now meet Yohan Hadikusuma Wiratama and Chau Hoi Wah in the last eight.


England players had a torrid first day at the Korea Open Super Series in Seoul.

Former world junior silver medallists Chris Adcock and Gabby White lost to Korea's Ko Sung Hyin and Jang Ye Na 16-21 21-19 21-14 in the mixed doubles first round.

And it wasn't Adcock's day as he also went down with Robert Blair in the opening round of the men's doubles, losing 21-17 21-17 to Taipei's Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu.

England's other men's doubles hopes, Richard Eidestedt and Andrew Ellis, were then toppled by Yoshiteru Hirobe and Hajime Komiyama but it was agonisingly close. The England pair lost 21-15 17-21 22-20, having held one match point before the Japanese pair won on their only match point.

Andrew Smith was next to fall when the England No 1 was beaten by Chan Yan Kit of Hong Kong 21-17 21-10 in the men's singles first round.

That all meant Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White were the only England hopes left. They are though to the second round of the women's doubles with one of an amazing 15 byes - only one first-round match was played.

Wallwork and White face second seeds Lee Hyo Jung and Lee Kyung Won in tomorrow's second round.

In the mixed doubles the Anglo-Scottish third seeds of Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier also had a first-round bye.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Davies named in England squad for European Team Championship

IAN WRIGHT today named a 12-strong Team England squad for the European Team Championship at Echo Arena in Liverpool from February 10-15.

And Cheshire's Helen Davies looks set to make her home England debut in the group stages when the second seeds face the Czech Republic, Wales and Scotland.

Team England are seeded to top their group and if they reach the knockout stages then they can expect to face a likely quarter-final against Ukraine and a semi-final against Poland or the Netherlands.

Davies, 22, from the Wirral, celebrated her first senior appearance with a win in women's singles in the 3-2 defeat by Poland in Warsaw in early December.

Avon's Mariana Agathangelou, who won the Bank of Scotland International Championship and the Yonex Welsh Open with Scotland's Jillie Cooper, is also rewarded for her good form with a place in the squad.

Team manager Wright can call on the experience of his senior players while taking the opportunity to give younger squad members a taste of the big occasion. Nathan Robertson, with 93 England caps, and European champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg (31 next week) know how to handle themselves in pressure situations while Davies and teenagers Chris Adcock and Gabby White represent the stars of the future.

Wright said: "We've gone for youth and experience. This is the start of a new cycle and we are trying to phase in some of the younger players. With home advantage in Liverpool, this is the perfect opportunity to do that.

"We are also planning to take some of the other emerging players to Liverpool to wear the England track suit and sample the atmosphere. We want to start filtering in the young players as and when the opportunity presents itself."

The squad includes three men from Notts (Robertson, Clark and Adcock), two women from Leeds (Wallwork and White) and two players with Jersey roots (Cann and Agathangelou).

If Robertson were to play in every match and England reached the final he would move to 99 England appearances, Kellogg is one short of 80 caps, while former Scotland international Blair is four away from 50 for England.

The full squad for the Center Parcs-supported Team England is:

Chris Adcock (Notts, age 19, 4 caps)
Robert Blair (Leics, age 27, 46 caps)
Anthony Clark (Notts, age 31, 82 caps)
Rajiv Ouseph (Middlesex, age 22, 22 caps)
Nathan Robertson (Notts, age 31, 93 caps)
Andrew Smith (Hants, age 28, 28 caps)

Mariana Agathangelou (Avon, age 20, 3 caps)
Elizabeth Cann (Jersey, age 29, 22 caps)
Helen Davies (Cheshire, age 22, 1 cap)
Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire, age 30, 79 caps)
Jenny Wallwork (Yorkshire, age 22, 12 caps)
Gabby White (Yorkshire, age 18, 4 caps)

Non-travelling reserves: Ben Beckman (Surrey), Andrew Ellis (Yorks), Sarah Walker (Essex).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Robertson’s brave bid ends in Malaysia

Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson's brave Malaysian Open bid ended in disappointment today when they went down 21-19 17-21 21-16 to Korean second seeds Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae in the semi-finals.

The English National men’s doubles champions and 2004 European silver medallists led 12-9 in the deciding game but could not hold off a determined surge by the Koreans, who now meet Alvent Chandra and Hendra Gunawan of Indonesia in the final at this opening Super Series event of the year.

But Clark and Robertson, who will have boosted their world ranking of No 60 by reaching the last four in only their fourth tournament back in tandem, will be heartened by this performance in the countdown to the English National Championships at Manchester Veldorome from January 30-February 1 followed by the European Team Championships at Echo Arena in Liverpool from February 10-15.

England will be bidding to improve on their silver medal behind Denmark last year and win their first team gold since 1984.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Clark and Robertson give England a European boost in Malaysia

Nathan Robertson and Anthony Clark produced their best win since teaming up again when they beat former world champions and third seeds Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen in the Malaysian Open quarter-finals today.

The English National champions, who defend their title in Manchester at the end of the month before heading for the Euroepan Team Championship in Liverpool from February 10-15, beat the third seeds 21-16 23-21.

The England pair won on their third match point and booked themselves a semi-final with second seeds Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae, who edged past Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.

In the other semi-final top seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan meet Alvent Changra and Hendra Gunawan.

At the European Team Championship England are second seeds behind holders Denmark, who beat Ian Wright's team in last year's final in Herning.

Robertson and Clark and Paaske and Rasmussen would be likely to clash again in men's doubles if England meet Denmark in the final at Liverpool's Echo Arena on February 15.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Clark and Robertson through to quarter-finals in Malaysia

Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson are on the march at the Proton Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

The English Nationals champions, who defend their title in Manchester at the end of this month, followed up yesterday's thrilling win over Malaysians Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah by beating Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu of Taipei 21-18 21-16.

That earned Clark and Robertson a quarter-final clash with Denmark's third seeds Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, who are likely to be key members of the defending champion and top seed's squad at the European Team Championship in Liverpool from February 10-15.

But there was disappointment for England's Robert Blair and Scotland's Imogen Bankier in the mixed doubles when the fifth seeds lost 21-16 21-18 to Malaysia's Hoon Thien How and Chin Eei Hui.

The Anglo-Scottish pair will now be among the small squad heading for next week's Korean Open in Seoul along with doubles parnership Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork and singles player Andrew Smith.

Richard Eidestedt and Andrew Ellis will compete in doubles in Korea, along with Blair and Adcock who will also partner White in mixed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clark falls in the mixed but roars back with Robertson in Malaysia

European champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg were among the big names to fall on day one of the Proton Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur.

The English National champions and third seeds went down 21-16 17-21 21-10 to unseeded Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Ng Hui Lin in the year's opening BWF Super Series event.

But Clark returned to court late in the evening to pull off a great men's doubles win with Nathan Robertson.

Before that Chris Adcock and Gabby White, the 2007 world junior silver medallists, also went out of the mixed doubles, beaten by Denmark's Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen 21-17 17-21 21-12. But the Danes have the edge in experience having been the 2008 Denmark Open winners.

But England's Robert Blair and Scotland's Imogen Bankier made it through to the last 16 when the fifth seeds came from behind to beat Mak Hee Chun and Ng Marlen Poau Leng of Malaysia 19-21 21-6 21-10. They now face another Malaysian pair in qualifiers Thien How Hoon and Chin Eei Hui.

Andrew Smith, England's only representative in either singles event, also lost on day one. He was beaten by Dutchman Dicky Palyama 21-14 23-21 despite Smith having led 20-17 in the second game. Smith let slip four game points while Palyama took the contest on his first match point.

It was a tough first day for Kellogg, who also lost her women's doubles first round match with Bankier as they went down 21-15 21-14 to Cheng Sook Chin and Woon Khe Wei.

In the men's doubles Adcock and Blair, who also contested the Masters last month, lost their first-round contest with Han Sang Hoon and Hwang Ji Man of Korea 21-14 14-21 21-17 while Bank of Scotland International champions Richard Eidestedt and Andrew Ellis were despatched by Japanese pair Kenichi Hayakawa and Kenta Kazuno 21-17 21-8.

White and Jenny Wallwork went into women's doubles action in the evening session but went down to seventh-seeded Koreans Ha Jeung Eun and Kim Min Jung 21-16 21-6.

That left Clark and Nathan Robertson as last men standing and up against Malaysian sixth seeds Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah of Malaysia.

But the English National champions turned the clock back to pull off a fine win against the 2004 Malaysian Open champions and 2006 Asian Games winners with a 22-20 21-19 win after being 14-9 down in the second game.

So Clark and Robertson and Blair and Bankier are through to day two.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Emms to be BADMINTON England’s first Ambassador

GAIL EMMS is back. England’s Team GB Olympic star, who retired after the Beijing Games, today reached agreement with BADMINTON England to be their first Ambassador for the sport.

The 2004 Olympic mixed doubles silver medalist and 2006 World and Commonwealth Champion (with Nathan Robertson) will start her new role immediately.

And one of her key tasks at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes will be to act as a mentor with some of the high-potential players aiming for success at London 2012.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy said: “We couldn’t let Gail just slip away quietly after everything she has done for badminton. She has not only achieved unprecedented success for herself but has also raised the sport’s profile like never before.

“It goes without saying what a fantastic role model Gail is for all the young players coming through and her role with BADMINTON England will provide the opportunity for her to pass on so much.”

Emms, 31, who represented England 68 times following her debut in1995, said: “After what badminton has done for me, this is now a great opportunity to give something back to the sport. We have some real talent coming through and I am looking forward to working with the players who can hopefully build on the success that came my way.

“I’ve had a few months to relax and reflect on my playing career and I am now refreshed and ready for this new and exciting challenge. I’m not here to coach but to inspire and motivate and I hope I can play my part in getting people involved in badminton at all levels.

“We have big opportunities to showcase the sport and BADMINTON England over the next three years in the countdown to London 2012. It’s an opportunity not to be wasted – I can’t wait to get started.”

The new role is not just aimed at the Elite end of the sport; a major part of the work is geared to grass roots. “Gail already does a lot of work in schools and I want to build on this by getting her close to our clubs” said Christy. “In that way she can help the development of the game across the country generally but specifically at our new Performance Centres.

“As our first Badminton Ambassador, she will be a spokesperson for the sport and play a key role in building the BADMINTON England brand and generating wider media interest in us and our activities.

“We have worked very hard to increase the number of people playing our sport and there is a lot more still to be done. We are far more than simply an Elite Olympic sport but a game that can be enjoyed by all age groups - from school and junior level, right through the club and grass-roots level, and on to Veterans. Gail has a big part to play in helping us achieve our ambitions.”