Sheffield badminton star Chloe Birch out to be best in country

Chloe Birch
Chloe Birch
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Sheffield’s Chloe Birch believes her performances during Loughborough Sport’s run to the AJ Bell National Badminton League Final have shown she is capable of becoming the best player in the country.

Birch’s ten-match unbeaten run in the AJ Bell NBL came to an end in the semi-final on Sunday but later that day she beat England No.1 Fontaine Chapman 9-8, 9-4, 9-7 in the Final.

Chapman had defeated the 20-year-old, who also plays in the women’s doubles, in the England Nationals final in February and it providedBirch with a small slice of revenge, although Birmingham Lions went on to win the Final 3-1 to lift the title.

“Revenge played a little bit of a role,” Birch said.

“In the English Nationals I had played in so many games in the build-up to it [due to competing in two events] so I couldn’t bring out the speed that I did today.

“I know if I do bring that then I can boss the game against her.

“The Nationals were so frustrating for that reason so I wanted to go out there and show I can be quick and impose myself on the court.

“I play two disciplines so it is always going to be tough when you play someone who is only focused on one but I have put a lot of effort into being able to do two disciplines and have struggled to get recognised for what I do a little bit as I am still a student.

“So to go out there and show what I can do was really nice because not a lot of people get to see it.”

In the semi-final Birch’s unbeaten run in the AJ Bell NBL came to an end when she lost 7-9, 3-9, 6-9 to Team Derby’s Malaysia’s 2010 Commonwealth Games team gold medallist Lyddia Cheah.

But Loughborough Sport went on to win 3-2 to claim a place in the final, where Birch excelled against Chapman.

Birch said: “I am really proud of the record I had, especially as it was over both disciplines.

“It is great to get experience playing regularly in the AJ Bell NBL when you are only 20 .

“The AJ Bell has helped me prove that I can play in team events and at the top level in England.”

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