Circuit

Golden Opportunity for Irish on home soil
Date: 12/4/2012 11:36 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

The Badminton Europe circuit moves to Dublin this week for the annual pre Christmas International giving the cream of Europe’s badminton talent one last opportunity to lift some silverware in what has been an eventful badminton year.

The Irish Open has always attracted some of the cream of Europe’s talent with a list of past winners including such greats as Kenneth Jonassen, Tine Baun, Petya Nedelcheva, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, Carolina Marin, Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier.

This year there is added interest and along with it some pressure for the home contingent and both Scott Evans and Chloe Magee are top seeds in both the singles event with Magee partnering Brother Sam as second seeds in the mixed doubles.

Evans in particular will be looking to bounce back after a first round defeat in Cardiff last week but the Dundrum native is sure to be in confident mood with an autumn return to form which has seen him start to climb up the world ranking list once again after a disappointing previous twelve months. The Irishman is going to have stiff competition for the title and to be the first home winner since Chloe Magee and Karen Bing won the women’s doubles in 2007. At the opposite end of the draw is the consistent German Lukas Schmidt but watch out for Danish duo of Kim Bruun and Flemming Quach the latter showing real signs of development this year and benefiting from a 6 week break after the Czech Intl.

Throw into the mix the runner up in Cardiff from last week and the man who defeated Scott Evans in Cardiff, Kuan Beng Hong and it is easy to see that the men’s singles is an open book with any one of 6 men being in with a real shout of the title.

Chloe Magee, fresh back from club duty in the German league, will not only have the weight of home expectation but also the physical pressure of playing in two events which is sure to take its toll in a tournament with two rounds per day per event.

The Irish number one will face a qualifier in the first round and her first real singles test will not come until the quarter finals but there after the cream comes to the top and the plethora of Danish talent on show are sure to figure in the shake up at the business end of the tournament. But without doubt the name to watch is that of Olga Konon (main picture) as the German continues to find her tournament feet on her way back to full fitness. Konon’s run to the semi final in Scotland, where she proved to be the only player able to put up a fight against the Asians, gives an indication of her quality and getting to the quarter final off the Bitburger Open Grand Prix Gold in her first tournament back, where she only lost out in two close games to eventual winner Juliane Schenk, is surely a sign of things to come from the classy German.

“I am looking forward to going to Dublin for the first time. I was supposed to get there in previous years but just never worked out for me. I hope to get a good run of matches in a tournament atmosphere as I work to regain my sharpness for the New Year” said Konon when asked about her trip to Dublin.

The mixed doubles is a pick and mix as to who can win. The Magee’s will be there or thereabouts but will need their A game to see of the challenge of pairs like De Ruiter/Barning, Vaessens/Arends and my outside bet for the title Belgian pair Golinski and Corvilain.

In the men’s doubles the consistency of Dutch pair of Khodabux and De Ruiter should be too strong for the rest of the field and in the women’s event third seeds Corvilain and Annys, buoyed by a return to form in Scotland are sure to figure in the weekends play.

“I want to perform like I did in Scotland this coming week in Dublin to show myself that the work I have being doing over the summer is paying off. I want to enjoy the time on court and from there the results will come. I am going to Relax, Fight and Smile and those words will be printed on my wrist during the tournament.” Said a philosophical Severine Corvilain before leaving for Dublin.

The Carlton Badminton Irish Open will be shown live on www.badmintonworld.tv and Aertv via Badminton Irelands website.

For a full draw and results click HERE.

Article and Image by Mark Phelan

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