Sean Vendy (left) and Ben Lane (right) in blue England tops
5 January, 2023

Stakes are high at the Malaysia Open 2024 and English doubles hopefuls will kick off the new year on one of the most prestigious stages.

Ben Lane and Sean Vendy will fly the flag in the men’s doubles while Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith and Greg and Jenny Mairs carry the mixed doubles hopes in Kuala Lumpur.

The HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament gained its new status in 2023 and now sits proudly alongside the YONEX All England, China Open and Indonesian Open after previously being ranked as a Super 750 on the world circuit.

The tournament also arrives at the dawn of an Olympic year, with Paris 2024 set to come into full focus as points earned could prove the difference between booking a summer spot in the French capital and watching from home.

Lane and Vendy take on sixth seeds Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae of South Korea and find themselves pooled in a draw where facing third seeds and home favourites Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik is a possibility should they make the quarter-finals.

The English duo finished 2023 ranked 20th in the BWF World Rankings and are currently 18th in the Race to Paris Olympic qualification rankings, just outside the top 16.

Last year, the pair were downed in the first round on their tournament debut, losing 21-19, 24-22 to Chinese pairing Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi.

With more scalps claimed since then, including world number one pair Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto at the Singapore Open in June, experience is on their side going into this year’s tournament.

Gregory and Jenny Mairs also fell in the first round last time in Kuala Lumpur after being on the Promoted Reserves List, after they were defeated 21-9 21-16 by third seeds Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.

The record still stands that no English winners have followed since Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms claimed the mixed doubles title in 2002.

The Mairs will be out to make their mark across the globe and have an opportunity to do so against first-round opponents Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie, who play on home soil.

The 36th-ranked duo last competed at the YONEX Welsh International Badminton Championships where they settled for silver after being pipped to victory in the final.

They are joined in the mixed doubles draw by Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, who face Dejan Ferdinansyah and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the first round before a potential meeting with third seeds Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yu Jung in the second.

The duo currently sit 29th in the Race to Paris Olympic qualification rankings and will hope for a deep run in the Malaysian capital to help them climb higher.

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