17.08.16: Ouseph proud despite Quarter Final defeat
Rajiv Ouseph insisted he will leave the Olympics with his head held high despite his history-making run coming to an end with defeat in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles.
Ouseph became the first British man to reach the last eight of the Olympic badminton men’s competition when he defeated Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto 2-1.
That set up a quarter-final clash with Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, the European champion and world bronze medalist, with the winner guaranteed at having the chance to play for a medal.
But despite putting on a battling performance, Ouseph was unable to come through as he lost 21-12 21-16 in 40 minutes.
“It’s great for me to get to a quarter-final at an Olympic Games but I really felt that if I played well I would have a chance,” he said.
“It wasn’t meant to be but when I look back at the whole Olympic tournament it’s been very good.
“I think I’ve put my experience from London behind me in a very positive way.
“For us, it’s everything to play at an Olympics. For us, in Great Britain, to do well at an Olympic Games it really raises the profile of badminton back home.
“Potentially I will go for Tokyo. I’m 29 now and 30 in two weeks time so I’ll just have a rest before that.
“Anything is possible, I’ll take it year by year but I feel like I’m playing the best badminton of my career, so I don’t see why not.”
Top 8 in the Olympics! Hold your head high @rajivouseph— Toby Penty (@TobyPenty) August 17, 2016
The Brit, ranked 13th in Rio, initially found himself on the back foot as the Dane looked to assert his authority, racing into a 10-5 lead before then taking that to 20-7 to set up game point.
But Ouseph was not giving in, and impressively defended five consecutive game points before a service fault then handed the game to his opponent.
The second game started much closer, with Ouseph initially not allowing his opponent to get more than a few points ahead.
However, with the Dane able to turn defence into attack to impressive effect, the scoreboard suddenly crept up to 13-7 in favour of the fourth seed.
That then turned to 17-12 after a series of Ouseph’s shots landed outside the court before Axelsen eventually brought up match point at 20-15.
Ouseph was able to defend one but on the next, he could only net after a long rally as his time in the competition came to an end.
Great Britain's presence goes on though, with men's doubles pair Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge bidding for bronze against Chai Biao and Hong Wei tomorrow.
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.