Team England name squad to face Japan
CENTER PARCS supported Team England have named one of their strongest squads for the two international badminton matches against Japan in mid-October.
Singapore Open men’s doubles winners Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson, the English National champions, head the line-up in the matches at the University of Bath on Friday, October 16 (6.45pm) and at Loughborough University on Saturday, October 17 (5.45pm).
Donna Kellogg, a former Loughborough student, teams up with Jenny Wallwork for the women’s doubles and will partner Clark in mixed doubles at one of the venues with Robertson and Wallwork likely to play in the other fixture.
Clark and Kellogg are the reigning European and English National champions and 2006 world runners-up. Kellogg is also the 2000 and 2006 European women's doubles champion and seven-times National champion.
Robertson and former partner Gail Emms, now BADMINTON England’s ambassador, won the Olympic mixed doubles silver medal in Athens 2004, as well as lifting the 2006 world and Commonwealth gold medals, the 2004 European title and four English National titles together.
World No. 28 men’s singles player Andrew Smith will play both matches while three-time English National champion Elizabeth Cann is likely to play both women’s singles if her comeback from injury goes well at this week’s Bitburger Saarlorlux Open in Saarbrucken.
It will be the first time either venue has staged an international badminton match although England lost to China 3-2 in a match at Bath Sports and Leisure Centre in 1999.
Japan last toured England in November 2000 when the hosts won a six-match series 5-1. The wins came at Guernsey (4-1), Boston (5-0), Huddersfield (4-1), Wigan (4-1) and North Shields (4-1) with the only defeat at Stevenage (4-1) in the final match.
The previous Japan visit was in 1998 when England won 3-2 at both Bath and Boston.
But most recently Team England, who are supported by Center Parcs – the leader in the UK short break holiday market – played Japan in the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championship in May in Guangzhou, China, when they scored a resounding 4-1 win in a match which marked doubles stars Robertson’s 100th England appearance
The Japan matches will offer the first opportunity for badminton fans to see Robertson in action at home since joining the elite group of England players with 100 caps.
Clark and Kellogg are looking to follow Robertson to 100 caps. Clark, who lives just 10 miles from the Loughborough venue at Ellistown, has so far won 91 caps and Kellogg 87. Only 10 players have won 100 England caps.
The Japan squad, who will train at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes before the matches in the build-up to the Denmark and French Opens in late October, will be led by former England National coach Park Joo Bong, the former world and Olympic men’s doubles champion and former world mixed doubles champion.
Colin Whaley, Sales & Marketing Director at Center Parcs, said: "Everyone at Center Parcs is very much looking forward to the two forthcoming Japan internationals and it will be great to see some of our England stars, such as Nathan and Anthony, performing on home soil. We are very proud to be a partner of Team England and we wish the whole team the very best of luck."
Pete Bush, Head Badminton Coach at the University of Bath, said: “This is a terrific opportunity for badminton fans to see some of the best players in the country in action in Bath. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to host the first international match of this two-match series against Japan and we’re also pleased that England have selected such a strong squad, with four of Britain’s Beijing 2008 Olympians due to play in Bath.”
Chris Earle, Loughborough University Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted to be able to host this high class fixture and bring international badminton to Loughborough and the wider East Midlands. It’s particularly appropriate for us to host this match given our links with Japan and the Japanese Olympic Committee and we look forward to welcoming players from both teams onto campus next month.”
The matches will be played under the five-match Sudirman Cup format of men’s and women’s singles and doubles and one mixed.
Tickets will be £12 adults, £10 BADMINTON England members and £6 concessions – Under 16, OAP and Students. Tickets are on sale at www.theticketfactory.com
Men’s singles: Andrew Smith (Hants, age 25, 32 caps). World ranking 28.
Women’s singles: Elizabeth Cann (Jersey, age 30, 27 caps). subject to fitness. World ranking: 38.
Men’s doubles: Anthony Clark (Notts, age 31, 91 caps) & Nathan Robertson (Notts, age 32, 100 caps). World ranking: 10
Women’s doubles: Donna Kellogg (Derby, age 31, 87 caps) & Jenny Wallwork (Yorks, age 22, caps 20). World ranking: -
Mixed doubles: Clark & Kellogg (World ranking: 12) and Robertson & Wallwork (World ranking: 32).
Coaches: Pete Jeffrey, Julian Robertson.
*World ranking in the September 24 list
Men: Kenta Kazuno, Kenichi Hayakawa, Noriyasu Hirata, Hirokatsu Hashimoto, Kenichi Tago and Sho Sasaki. Women: Mizuki Fujii, Reika Kakiiwa, Shizuka Matsuo, Mami Naito, Eriko Hirose and Ai Goto.
Team manager: Park Joo Bong. Coaches: Fumihiko Machida, Keita Masuda.