The flag on the sleeve of her shirt may have switched from the red and white of the St George to the Union Jack but Chloe Birch has continued her strong multi-sport event form from the Commonwealth Games into Team GB action at the European Games.
Birch – then making her multi-sport event debut with England - was one of the standout performers on the Gold Coast 14 months ago. Now, making her Team GB debut in Minsk, she has reached the quarter finals of the Women’s Singles event with a 21-15 21-15 Round of 16 win over France’s Marie Batomene.
The English number one will face Denmark number two Mia Blichfeldt – for a place in the semi finals. She is also well tipped to net a semi final spot in the women’s doubles event alongside Lauren Smith when the national champions face Turkish rivals.
Birch is joined in the singles quarter finals by another debutant; Toby Penty. Penty who cruised to the top of Group H, was exceptional in today’s Round of 16 fixture with Irish rising star Nhut Nyugen, winning 21-12 21-11. That puts Penty one step away from a semi final with newly installed top seed Anders Antonsen standing in his way. The Dane holds a a 3-0 record over Penty but all three fixtures – including a 2018 European Championships match up – have gone the distance to three ends.
"I was seeded eight and in my head I aim to reach the position in which I am seeded so that’s a box ticked but I mean I would love to go and get a medal now if I can” Penty said.
“I feel like I have played better every day. The coaches tell me these multi-sport events are a marathon not a sprint  so hopefully I can go one step further tomorrow because I am going to need to.”
After winning all 21 of their 21 group games, Team GB badminton have the opportunity to progress further in all disciplines. The only non seeded representation in the knockout stages of the competition are Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch and they have already shown their credentials beating the top seeds to win the group.
Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis will be first up to play for a semi final berth when they face Finnish opponents in today’s men’s doubles quarter final. After carefully avoiding a couple of potential 'banana skins' in their group stage, the Rio 2016 bronze medallists will be keen to swerve another upset later today.
Team GB’s two mixed pairs Chris/Gabby Adcock and Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith both won their morning’s final group stage games to secure top spots in their relative groups and both will have high hopes going into Friday’s quarter finals.
Photo credits: Lumix UK/TeamGB