Ah, the joy of six.
That satisfying, feel good factor is not something normally associated with a leisure centre in the middle of High Wycombe, right next door to a park and ride.
But, this coming August Bank Holiday (Fri 24 – Sun 26), Cumbria and England badminton star Lauren Smith will be full blown intent on ramping up her ‘six’ appeal at the 2018 English Nationals in the Buckinghamshire town.
Smith, an Olympian and three-time Commonwealth Games medallist from the Gold Coast in April, is currently on her own personal Nationals hot streak, having won ‘five in a row’ titles. Wycombe provides a grand opportunity to extend the run.
In fact, Smith is unbeaten in Womens Doubles at national championship level since February 2013.
That takes in titles won in Bolton, Milton Keynes, Crawley, Derby and then Wycombe last year.
And remarkably, Smith has also been crowned Women’s Doubles champion alongside four different partners – thrice with Gabby Adcock then Heather Olver, followed up with a win with Sarah Walker last year.
Wycombe 2018 will see another twist – Jess Pugh. The reigning Mixed Doubles champion, now paired with Smith to play on the World Tour, could well be her fourth partner in a Championship-winning campaign now their entry is confirmed.
And if not Pugh, then Marcus Ellis, in the Mixed Doubles, could provide the solution. Ellis, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and two-time national champion, is also in the mix.
Without a national crown since his Olympic medal success in Rio, Ellis has partnered Smith to Commonwealth Games silver and European bronze this year. A tilt at a first Nationals title together is something that will sit well with the pair.
One thing is for certain though. With a host of England’s big guns set to wow fans and families in Wycombe, the 2018 Nationals will offer the feel good factor all over again.
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