England national champions and Team GB Olympians Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith have reason more than most to look back on a ‘job well done’ in 2018 after qualifying for the prestigious HSBC BWF World Tour Finals to be held in Guangzhou, China 12-16 December.
The pair have only been playing as a partnership since September 2017 but have fast established themselves on badminton’s World Tour, reaching six finals and winning four titles in the past 12 months whilst also winning European bronze and Commonwealth silver.
That run, often playing away from the glare of the higher echelon events on the world circuit, has seen titles won in Canada, Germany, Holland and most latterly, Glasgow
The latest of their title wins together – that being at last weekend’s Scottish Open mixed doubles – came with extra significant and reward for the pair: a shot at the $1.5 million prize pot on offer at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals
It was an outstanding achievement that was not on the radar at the start of the year but one that is true reflection of a run of form that has seen them emerge as one of the eight most consistently performing pairs in world badminton during 2018.
Determined by ranking points earned, the showpiece end of season shootout sees the world’s top 8 performing players and pairs in each discipline compete in group and knockout competition to end the season on a high.
It will be the first time Ellis and Smith have individually qualified for the extravaganza.
They will compete alongside the reigning YONEX All England champions Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higshino as well as world number pair Zheng and Huang and Rio 2016 silver medallists Goh and Chen.
England have a rich recent history at the World Tour finals having seen the Adcocks top the podium in 2015 and end as silver medallists in 2016. After finishing 14th in the qualification rankings, the Adcocks will not be in Gangzhou this year. Instead Ellis and Smith will represent England, and Europe, in the mixed doubles.
Before heading out to rejoin the World Tour in Finals, Marcus and Lauren will likely compete with their England team mates at the Euro Mixed Team Qualifiers in Milton Keynes, 7-9 December. Book your seat at the National Badminton Centre today