Navickas wants to shine
Date: 8/28/2012 9:18 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
With the Olympics now but a distant memory it is time for the Badminton Europe circuit to kick back into gear with a trip to Poland for the unofficial start to the badminton season.

The city of Lublin in southwest Poland, with a population of just under 100,000, plays hosts to this International Series rated tournament which will see a mixture of both established and emerging European talent attempt to blow away the summer cobwebs for the start of the Autumnal rush around Europe.

In the men’s singles event Kestutis Navickas is installed as top seed and this Polish Open is sure to serve as a new start for the Lithuanian after the disappointment of missing out on the London Olympics.  A year is a short time in sport and Navickas knows this more than most. Just over a year ago The Lithuanian number 1 was all smiles after winning his home international but injury soon put a stop to his march to London and the remainder of the qualification period was an immense struggle for Navikas. A new season and a new beginning for The Lithuanian as he attempts to climb back up the world ranking list.

The sizable Russian contingent is sure to serve as the main opposition to Navickas and with Kieran Merrilees (SCO) and Artem Pochtarev (UKR) making the trip to Lubin the Lithuanian is sure to get a severe test of his form if he is to lift the title come Sunday.

Polish Olympian Kamilla Augustyn is top seed in the women’s singles and the veteran is going to have to perform to her very best to see off some of Europe’s emerging  junior talent to lift her home title. On paper Nicole Schaller will be the biggest threat to the top step of the podium. The Swiss youngster was probably the most improved player on tour last season and who will ever forget her heroics as part of the Swiss team at the European Team Championships in Amsterdam earlier in the year. Kirsty Gilmour (SCO) will also look to build on her impressive rookie year on the senior tour and don’t be surprised if up and coming French shuttler Delphine Lansac causes a few upsets and makes some headlines this week in Lubin.

The men’s doubles will give the home nation its best chance of victory in the shape of Moren and Szkudlarczyk. This week gives the Polish number 2 pairing the opportunity to emerge from the shadows of Logosz and Cwalina and they are sure to be hot favourites to lift the title in Lubin.

Welsh pair Carissa Turner and Sarah Thomas will revel in the position of top seeds for the women’s doubles but with Russian pair of Golovanova and Panushkina in the same side of the draw the Welsh girls will certainly have their hands full in realising their seeding come Sunday. Team England continue to mix up their pairings and the now vastly experienced  Jenny Wallwork takes to the courts alongside Alex Langley and the English pair are sure to have a lot to say in the destination of the medals in Lubin.

The home crowd will once again be hoping that the mixed doubles can provide a platform for success and top seeds Szkudlarczyk and Wojtkowska will fancy their chances to deliver. However looking down the draw it is clear that the English Duo of Wallwork and Ellis look to be a serious threat to the top step of the podium. A lot will depend on the fitness of Andy Ellis whose training has been disrupted in the past week due to an annoying arm injury. If Englishman is fit then this week in Poland could be the start of a productive on court relationship for Wallwork and Ellis after the disappointment of narrowly missing out on their home Olympics. 

Badminton Europe TV will be in Lubin with live coverage of all the action from the streaming court throughout the tournament. Live post match interviews and commentary will be available for semi finals and finals. Just log on by clicking HERE and register for free to enjoy all the action.

Follow Badminton Europe on Facebook by clicking HERE for a live photo gallery from the tournament and follow Badminton Europe on Twitter for live updates throughout the badminton season.

CLICK HERE for the draws of 2012 Polish Open Championships.

Article by Mark Phelan. Photo by BadmintonPhoto

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