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• English National Badminton Championships  • 05-07 Feb 2010 •  

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02-Feb:
Ouseph aims for a Nationals
hat-trick in Manchester


RAJIV OUSEPH is aiming to go one better than Manchester’s Colin Haughton when he defends his men’s singles title at the English National Badminton Championships at Manchester Velodrome this weekend.

Haughton won the title three times in four years before the event moved to Manchester in 2004 but Ouseph is bidding to become the first man to win three in a row since 10-times champion Darren Hall in 1991.

In today’s draw Ouseph will start his bid against Somerset’s Stuart Rowlands on Friday morning and he will face a second match on day one against Surrey’s Jack Molyneux or Arthur Cheung of Bucks.

The 23-year-old from Middlesex is the only man in the draw to have won the title. Jersey’s Mark Constable, who won for Warwickshire in 2002, has been forced to withdraw from the Championships.

Elizabeth Cann is the player to beat in the women’s singles as she chases her fourth title. She is the only previous winner in the women’s draw. The top seed from Jersey has a first-round bye but will then meet Yorkshire’s Steffi Clarke or Hertfordshire’s Helena Lewczynska.

Defending champions Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson are top seeds in the men’s doubles where Clark is chasing a ninth win in a row, which would be a record for consecutive victories. Robertson has won the title seven times.

The Nottinghamshire pair’s first real test should come in the quarter-finals on Saturday when the 2009 Singapore Open winners can expect to face fourth seeds and recent Swedish International winners Chris Langridge (Surrey) and Robin Middleton (Yorks).

Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork, the women’s doubles runners-up last year, are favourites to lift the title this year and the Leeds pair, who are in the world’s top 25, face an opening match against Lauren Bromley (Staffs) and Emily Westwood (Herts).

But second seeds Mariana Agathangelou (Avon) and Heather Olver (Sussex) have a danger pair in their half with former doubles and two-time singles champion Tracey Hallam (Staffs) coming out of retirement to partner Kelly Matthews (Herts).

Irish International winners Agathangelou and Olver start off against Norfolk pair Katherine Cooper and Julie Pike while Hallam and Matthews meet Cheshire’s Gill Dabek and Yorkshire’s Harriet Shillito.

Hallam is the only previous women’s doubles champion in the line-up having won with Donna Kellogg two years ago.

In the mixed doubles Robertson and Wallwork, the top seeds, have a first-round bye along with second seeds Clark and Olver, who are playing their first Nationals together.

Robertson and Wallwork are drawn in the same half as third seeds Adcock and White while Spanish International winners and Irish International runners-up Middleton and Agathangelou are the big dangers in Clark and Olver’s half.

Clark is aiming for a fourth consecutive mixed title after three wins with Kellogg, who retired in December. Robertson, a four-time winner with Gail Emms, is chasing his first title with Wallwork.

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