15.08.16: Team GB pair target gold after booking semi final slot
Chris Langridge insists he and men’s doubles partner Marcus Ellis can emulate Leicester City’s unlikely success in the Premier League and win Olympic gold after booking a semi-final spot.
The duo, ranked 22nd in the world, beat Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa in straight games 21-19 21-17 – and are guaranteed to play for at least a bronze medal.
They will now face China’s Haifeng Fu and Zhang Nan in the last four on Tuesday.
“It’s insane really – if you had told me before the start that we would make the semi-finals I would have bitten your hand off,” he said.
“It is amazing – we are one of these pairs that are quite up and down – but this tournament we have shown our ability throughout the group and knockout stages.
“I love winning – I am not competitive outside of badminton, I would let my missus win at bowling if she wanted to – but not badminton.
“We give everything on court and you can see from our emotion how badly we wanted it – it means everything to be in the semi-finals.
“Our record against the Chinese pair is not as good as we would like but the thing is, this is the Olympics and anything can happen.
“We are going to go out there and see what happens and hopefully do a Leicester.”
It was a tense first game in Rio as the Japanese duo continually edged ahead, but Ellis and Langridge battled hard and came through late on to take it 21-19.
Endo and Hayakawa seemed to lose their confidence at the beginning of the second, while the British duo made a blistering start to take a 6-1 lead.
Japan bounced back though and an incredible almost minute-long, 73-shot rally followed late in the game with both teams demonstrating an inventive attack and resilient defence.
But it was Team GB who took control again, as Ellis led from the front with some clinical smash shots. And when Japan sent the shuttlecock out at 20-17 victory was confirmed, meaning they will return for Tuesday’s semi-final with confidence, knowing that victory will see them play for a gold medal.
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.