Badminton: Sheffield teenager ready for Birmingham tournament

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Ahead of her YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships bow, Sheffield’s Chloe Birch, 19, can see the improvements she is making.

Birch is no stranger to the big stage having already represented GB. The one major competition Birch is yet to tick off is the YONEX All England, however changes when she takes to the court at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena (March 3-8). And Birch, who started playing at Abbeydale Badminton Club aged eight, is confident after an impressive English Championship last month. Birch reached the semi-finals of the singles, losing out to number one seed Fontaine Chapman, while she and Jenny Wallwork lost out to eventual champions Lauren Smith and Heather Olver. “The Nationals went quite well,” she said. “In the doubles we performed well but we were unlucky with the draw. We came up against the number one seeds Heather and Lauren which was tough. But it went to three sets and it was a close game. My touch and control has definitely improved; you can now see it in matches now.”

The Yonex All England is the first Superseries Premier event of 2015 and features all the world’s best players.

And Birch can’t wait to rub shoulders with the best of them after a difficult end to 2014.

“I am coming off the back of a tricky six months with different situations and now I am coming out on the other side and getting some good performances in and really feeling good in training and matches now so things are going really well,” she added.

“It settled down after Christmas a little bit and then now the tournaments start coming thick and fast again so it is about making sure that we get enough training sessions in in the week before we go in and compete and that we are really sharp and ready for the matches.

“And what better way to start this busy period than my first All England, I am really looking forward to it.”

*Tickets for the YONEX All England 2015 at the stunning new Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham are available at allenglandbadminton.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 444 9994.