11.08.16: Ouseph records first British win of Rio 2016
Rajiv Ouseph couldn’t have wished for a better start to his Rio 2016 campaign after a straight-game win over the Czech Republic’s Petr Koukal.
The 29-year-old, appearing at his second Olympics, dominated proceedings to win 21-14 21-18 in just 44 minutes on Thursday evening.
A late comeback from the Czech in the second game – he won three straight points with Ouseph seemingly stuck on match point – only delayed the inevitable as the British national champion got the win.
But despite the victory, Ouseph insists a slight drift in the hall will need getting used to ahead of his next game.
“I’m pleased, I didn’t play my best I don’t think but it was difficult conditions out there and it was nice to get a victory,” he said.
“I’m happy with that but there is definitely stuff to work on before the next match.
“There’s a drift, it is not the same as any other hall and obviously there is the added pressure of it being the Olympics so I think it just takes a little bit more time getting used to that.
“It’s nice to get a comfortable victory under your belt before going further into the tournament. It does take the pressure off.
“We’ve got training courts in similar conditions so we will do a few things to try and get used to it but also trying to get used to it during the match as quickly as possible.
“It’s a difficult thing to do mentally in the match but everyone has to do it.”
Ouseph next takes on Japan’s Sho Sasaki on Sunday in their Group I encounter and he insists nothing less than another win will do.
“I have two days off now so I can watch my opponents play on Saturday,” he added.
“I will rest and recover, watch that game and be ready for my next match on Sunday.”
“We never play this format apart from at the Olympics. It’s difficult but it is nice knowing you can still get through if you lose.
“Having said that in the knockout format you know you need to win and I’ve treated it like that so I’ve won my first game and I need to win my second one so I will try to do that.”
See all the stars of Rio in Birmingham next March! Tickets for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2017 at the Barclaycard Arena are now on general sale.