English Nationals Harry Huang 1200

4 February 2024

Harry Huang came from behind to claim his first open singles title at the English National Badminton Championships. 

Jenny Mairs won two titles in Nottingham, defending her mixed doubles titles alongside husband Greg before partnering Chloe Birch to women’s doubles glory.

Kirby Ngan won back-to-back women’s singles trophies with Ben Lane and Sean Vendy also defending their open doubles title.

Up against Cholan Kayan in the open singles showpiece, Huang, the top seed, didn’t make it easy for himself as he lost the first game 21-15.

Huang worked hard to level the match, winning the second game 22-20 before showing his prowess to close out the final 21-15 in the third and end a 66-minute epic.

“It feels really good,” Huang said. “It’s still sinking in, but I think it was one of the hardest matches physically I have played and to come through it in three sets is something I am really proud about.

“There were points in that second set where it looked like both of us did not really want to move anymore but we just kept going and I am really happy with it.

English Nationals Huang Singles 1200

“It was my first nationals since 2020 so I was just excited to play in front of an English crowd for the first time in a long time.”

Greg and Jenny Mairs produced the perfect defence of their crown as they won the mixed doubles titles for the second year in a row.

The Mairs did not drop a set en route to lifting the trophy beating third/fourth seeds Samuel Jones and Sian Kelly 21-14 21-15 in the semi-final.

In the showpiece, they came up against unseeded pairing Rory Easton and Elizabeth Tolman who knocked out their second set of seeds in a comeback win in the semi-final.

They beat Brandon Yap and Abbygael Harris 17-21 23-21 21-11 in the quarter-finals the morning after knocking out second seeds Ethan van Leeuwen and Annie Lado.

In the final, the Mairs were comfortable, winning 21-14 21-19 in 34 minutes for their second title.

Greg Mairs said: “It was good. I think we played a dominant performance.

“We were actually leading by a lot in the second set and they clawed it back. But we have learned from lots of times where we maybe have not closed out matches in the past and have learned what to do.

“It’s a tournament we’ve been coming to watch from when we were kids, when it was back in Manchester, so to win it twice now is really satisfying.”

Jenny Mairs then quickly recovered before lifting her second trophy of the day with Birch as they defeated Sian Kelly and Elizabeth Tolman 21-6 21-3 in the women’s doubles final.

Birch and Mairs had been a last-minute pairing after Estelle van Leeuwen was forced to withdraw from injury.

English Nationals Mairs Birch 1200

But the two proved the theory ‘best when fresh’ as Birch defended her title and won the women’s doubles with a third different partner having previously won with Lauren Smith and most recently Jenny Wallwork.

Kirby Ngan also defended her title, defeating second seed Leona Lee 21-14 21-19 in the final.

Ngan had been the surprise of the 2023 tournament as she claimed the women’s singles title as an unseeded player, but this year she proved it was no fluke.

After knocking out Lisa Curtin with an accomplished performance in the last four, Ngan held her nerve to win back-to-back titles.

She said: “In the second set, Leona played a lot stronger and it was a hard to keep the momentum going but it was a good game to play.

“It’s great to be back in Nottingham, playing again and it is great to win today.”

English Nationals Lane Vendy 1200

Lane and Vendy made it a hat-trick of titles, and their fourth overall, with a straight-games win over Rory Easton and Zach Russ in the open doubles final.

The top two seeds met in the final game in Nottingham with Lane and Vendy displaying all of their pedigree to claim a 21-17 21-14 victory.

With special thanks to YONEX, the official sports equipment partner of the English National Badminton Championships

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