Toby Penty has already beaten the reigning English men’s singles champion this season and now he has his eyes firmly set on taking Sam Parsons’ title at next month’s English National Badminton Championships in Derby.
Penty will head to the University of Derby Sports Centre in less than three weeks time ranked second in the country and full of confidence that he has a chance of taking the top prize.
But the 23-year-old knows he may have to overcome seven time national champion Ouseph if he is to walk away as the 2016 champion.
“I don’t think I am a million miles away from being the UK’s number one” Penty said. “Rajiv Ouseph has been there for some time and deservedly so, but I am trying my best to catch up with him”.
Ouseph was a late withdraw in Crawley last year in a move that opened up the men’s singles draw.
It was an opportunity that Penty failed to take full advantage of, losing at the quarter final stage to eventual champion Sam Parsons. Now Penty is eager to put the record straight at the championships, which take place from 5-7 February.
“I have come up short a couple of times at the National Championships and not made the final so I am hoping to do that this time around” said Penty.
“I am playing well at the moment and I know I have it in me so I am looking forward to seeing how I get on. Getting through to Sunday (the final) is the main thing.”
“I have beaten Sam Parsons, who was the national champion last year, I have beaten Eric Pang, who made the quarter-finals of the World Championships, so I have been playing well and I am beating very good players.
“I think I am showing the level I can play at.”
Penty’s latest win in the AJ Bell National Badminton – a 3-0 victory over rising Scottish star Alex Dunn – was also, significantly, at the venue for the 2016 Nationals.
“I can return to the University of Derby’s Sports Centre with winning memories. So with me being ranked number two in the country, I know I can get to the final and we will have to see if I can go one step further.”
Over 130 of the nation’s best badminton players confirmed to compete for national titles at the 2016 English National Badminton Championships, 5-7 February at University of Derby.
See, hear, feel the national pride live! Tickets are now on sale with prices starting from £6 (child), £10 (members) and £12 (adults).