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Record broken: A credit to the focus and drive
Date: 3/18/2020 11:58 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
As all badminton players know too well, the heat gets cranked up in an Olympic year, as everyone is out to get those important points. So, to break personal records during this time, where first rounds can be like finals, is really quite something. 

This is what England’s Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch have achieved, as they now sit at 18 in the world and second in Europe. They were runners up at the SaarLorLux Open, silver medallists at the European Games and title winners of the Kharkiv International in 2019. Commenting on reaching their highest women’s doubles ranking, Smith says. 

-I am really proud of what Chloe and I have been able to achieve recently, especially as we have been playing some of our best stuff. To manage to improve as a pair through a qualifying year is a credit to the focus and drive from us both and our coaches.

At the All England last week, Smith and Birch, after making swift work of Germany’s top pair in Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich, they faced the reigning champions Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan and number one seeds in round two. They showed great fight in front of the home fans, and only narrowly lost out 21-16, 22-20. 

Quite surreal playing with the legends
Lauren Smith, along with her partner Marcus Ellis in the mixed doubles, had a sensational run to the semifinals. They both then took part in the Legends event on the morning of finals day. Smith shares her feelings about this experience. 

-The Legends event was great fun! After the disappointment on Saturday, it was a nice way to be back in court and just have some fun. To be part of the same team as those players was quite surreal!

It will definitely make training quite strange
Following the emotions of All England week, with the global Covid-19 pandemic, everyone’s plans and day to day lives have changed drastically. Smith shares her opinions on these changes. 

-Obviously, there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment, with tournament cancellations and not knowing when things will go back to normal. It will definitely make training quite strange but there are bigger problems. As we have been this whole time, we will use the advice from Badminton England and the government. In some ways, if we can train, it is an opportunity, as we haven't had a training block for a long time.

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