Silver lining for Birch as she looks towards golden future

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SHEFFIELD’s rising young badminton player Chloe Birch is adamant there will be plenty more opportunities for her to reach the English National Championships semi-finals having missed out twice last weekend.

The 16-year-old underlined her future potential at last year’s National Championships – beating defending champion Liz Cann in the women’s singles first round before losing in the quarter-finals. And at the Bolton Arena last weekend, she demonstrated why she’s so highly thought of, seeing off Viki Williams with ease in round one of the women’s singles again before cruising into the last eight.

There she gave 2011 winner Nicola Cerfontyne a run for her money before eventually going down but Birch was happy with her singles showing, having sprung a few surprises. “I’m pleased with how it went. I had some good matches in the singles and I think I performed well,” said Birch.

“I’m a lot younger than some of the other players and so to be out there playing in the seniors is a great experience. It would have been fantastic to get to the semi-finals and it wasn’t quite to be but there are plenty more years ahead of me.”

Birch’s participation didn’t end with the women’s singles as she also competed in the mixed doubles with fellow teenager Alex Lane – reaching the quarter-finals again. They overcame Gregory Mairs and Claire Weaver and Jamie Kilgariff and Raveesha Fernando but met their match in Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork.

To experience worldwide Olympic hopefuls next in England, buy tickets to Yonex All England Open Championships (March 6-11) www.allenglandbadminton.com