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With the Commonwealth Games now underway, Chloe Birch is the latest in the hot seat to share her experiences of the Games.

Birch was part of the England mixed team side that won bronze four years ago in the Gold Coast.

She has also had success at other major Championships, winning European women’s doubles silver in 2021.

What the Commonwealth Games mean to me;

“There really is nothing like the Commonwealth Games, it holds a special place in our sport.

“The Games gave me my first exposure of a big championships and a multi-sport event.

“I had done a World University Games in the past but nothing compared to the Commonwealths when I first experienced it.

“For me, they will always be extra special. 2018 was the start of me beginning to push on in my senior career really. That really catapulted me into improving a lot and making my mark in senior championships.

“So I’m really excited to get back to them in Birmingham. I’m hoping it might be as sunny as the Gold Coast but that might be wishful thinking.

“I also love watching other sports and being around other sports, so getting that opportunity to play as one for Team England is great.

“Even as a fan back in Glasgow (2014) for a few days, I remember going to watch the boxing for example and the atmosphere was huge.

“We went to see the badminton as well, but saw quite a few sports. I always hope that people do that with badminton and it can help new fans find the sport.”

On attending the Manchester 2002 Games as a fan;

“It was a massive inspiration. I only went to the athletics for that one and I was quite young at the time.”

“But it made quite an impression in terms of what sport can achieve and how big the Games are.

On winning a bronze medal in the Gold Coast four years ago;

“It was definitely a career highlight.

“For me it showed me that I could play my best badminton on the big stage.

“Even though it was four years ago, I remember going back thinking I want more of this and win more Commonwealth medals.

“It was a long slog, but we had a great team spirit.

“In the quarter-finals we faced Canada and I was up against Michelle Li. We had won the first match, so the pressure was off slightly and I think that helped me.

“It was probably the favourite match of my career so far – hopefully until the gold medal match this year!

“I wasn’t supposed to beat her, I just ran around like a headless chicken doing everything I could to win.

“Somehow I won 21-15 in the decider and we won 3-0.

“That was probably my personal highlight of the Games. I love a team event and to go onto win bronze was a very special moment.”

How my experience in 2018 will help in Birmingham;

“It is a different make-up to the team for sure this time around.

“Last time I was the youngest, supposedly going just for experience and to do what I can. Suddenly I have this extra responsibility, in four years I seem to have aged quite a lot.

“I’m quite lucky that I don’t get daunted by the athletes’ village environment or having bigger crowds, I always take that in my stride.

“But I know it can hard to adjust to for some. Hopefully, I can help some of the younger ones.

“You do have to think consciously about not getting too carried away amidst the atmosphere.

“Sometimes you just need an hour chilling out in your room for a bit, even if that can be quite difficult to tell people.

“It [2018] feels like an age ago, but I will use that experience gained there and hopefully help the rest.”

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