She may have fallen to opening round defeat, but Sheffield badminton star Chloe Birch insists her All England Open Championships debut is the start of great things to come.
Birch faced Bulgaria’s Mariya Mitsova in the first qualification round, as she looked to seal her spot in the main draw at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena. Despite a valiant effort on court, it wasn’t to be for the 21-year-old as Mitsova triumphed 21-14 21-17 in little over 30 minutes.
But while she insists improvements can be made, Birch was over the moon to be competing alongside the most talented players from around the globe: “It wasn’t one of my best performances, Mariya played very well and dominated the match,” she said.
“I tried to stay in contention and nick the second game, but unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get all the way back. I just wasn’t on my game today.
“It’s always going to be difficult. The All England is one of the best tournaments out there, everyone wants to play and do well here.
“The standard is really high and I was just happy to play, and get the experience.
“I want to take it on board and use that experience going forward, so hopefully next year, it won’t be a first round loss.”
Now in its 107th year, the All England Open Badminton Championships is one of just five worldwide tournaments listed as a MetLife Badminton World Federation Superseries Premier event.
And with a maiden All England appearance now under her belt, Birch is determined to use the experience to her advantage.
“This was my first All England and it’s great to be playing. I have come to watch the tournament since I was a kid,” she said.
“I always sat in the stands so to be actually playing, to be called out and walking out on to the court, it’s really good.
“For me, it actually inspires me to do better next time. It’s my aim to play at this level.”
“I want to go away and train really hard so that I can compete with the rest of the world at this tournament.”
* The world’s best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England until Sunday (March 12). For tickets, TV schedule results & reaction: allenglandbadminton.com