Cumbria’s Lauren Smith is “determined” to retain her women’s doubles title at next month’s English National Badminton Championships in Derby after being named as top seed.
Smith, a Commonwealth silver and bronze medallist, is aiming to land her fourth back-to-back national title and her second with doubles partner Heather Olver.
She will also compete in the mixed doubles with Gary Fox with the pair looking to repeat last year's run to the final.
The 25-year-old will head to the University of Derby on 5 February where she is expecting some tough battles, including second seeds Kate Robertshaw and Sophie Brown.
“It’s always a really great feeling to win the nationals,” she said. “It’s prestigious to be number one in the country and we train really hard to achieve that.
“I’ll hopefully be able to get that feeling again this year.
“Kate and Sophie are our biggest competition. We train with them every day, we know each other well, so it makes for a difficult game.”
While qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio remains her main priority, Smith hopes a good performance at the English Nationals will help boost her confidence for future games.
“It’s good to get the confidence and the match-play from this competition,” she said.
“It will also be nice to play a tournament that is not pressured by Rio, it will be quite a breath of fresh air in that sense.”
But Smith says that it is still important for them to stay focused on the game and go out and give it all they’ve got.
She said: “You want to go out there and you want to prove what you’re capable of.
“You want to go out to make your mark and retain the title, it is really important for what I want to achieve throughout my career.”
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