Lauren Smith will be hoping to walk away from Winchester with her name in the record books as she gets set for next month’s English National Badminton Championships. The 28-year-old is aiming to win a record-breaking eighth women’s doubles title at the event on February 1-2, which would put her level with former octo-champ Gillian Gowers. Smith will be paired with regular partner Chloe Birch, with whom she won the 2019 competition, and is looking forward to a competition that she hasn’t tasted women’s doubles defeat in since 2012.

“It would be a real honour to be in the Nationals record books,” said five-time Commonwealth medallist Smith, who also won the 2018 mixed doubles title with Marcus Ellis. “I remember playing as a junior and hoping I could one day win. So to have multiple titles is something I will look back on fondly.”

Staged annually at different venues around the country, the English Nationals have been delighting fans with the very best English badminton has to offer for more than 50 years. Having crowned more than 100 national champions in their time, the Nationals continue to inspire fans of all age by showcasing the skills of England’s best players in the nation’s favourite racket sport. And as a new generation of talent takes to the court, new legends will emerge and long-standing records will be broken – with Smith eyeing up the latest of those in Hampshire.

Smith and Birch look set be pushed all the way by Jenny Moore and Viki Williams in their event, with Moore looking for revenge after losing out in the final last year.

The men’s singles event is all set for a new English champion in 2020, with reigning champion Rajiv Ouseph MBE not defending his title after announcing his retirement last year. Alex Lane and last year’s beaten finalist Sam Parsons will no doubt be among the contenders for the win again, with both going close in 2019 having won the title in 2017 and 2015 respectively.

As well as competing with Smith in the doubles, Birch will be aiming for women’s singles success once again in Winchester, after emerging victorious in last year’s event for a third straight year. Georgina Bland will be among those bidding to stop her teammate from making it four in a row, keen to go one better than last year’s second-place finish.

There’s also a doubles double on the line for Greg Mairs, with the 25-year-old competing with Tom Wolfenden in the men’s doubles, while a partnership with title-chasing Williams could prove fruitful in the mixed event. To see the full players draw, please click here.

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