Lauren Smith will be heading to her second Olympic Games with dreams of spoiling the party and claiming a medal.
The 29-year-0ld will compete in the mixed doubles alongside Marcus Ellis as eighth seeds and the leading European pairing.
Having spent lockdown training and living together, the 2019 European Games champions are on top form going into Tokyo.
Smith said: “If we play our best, we can beat anybody. We have just got to focus on making sure every time we step on court, we get the best out of ourselves.
“[The Olympic postponement] definitely made it more difficult I think with the prolonged qualification period.
“We’ve had a lot of practice living together, playing together, even before lockdown started, so we definitely used it in a positive way as we’re very driven and determined people.
“We bring the best out of each other when it might have been easy to sit back and not do so much.
“We missed the adrenaline and feeling of competition, but we’re really glad that at the start of this year we’ve had some events go ahead and that’s really helped get back into the swing of things.
“We’ll be pushing each other. We never like to put an expectation on the exact result, but we expect the best from ourselves in terms of performance and professionalism.
“We’re going out there to do some damage.”
The 29-year-old’s badminton career took off after winning Commonwealth bronze in 2014 and made it double silver four years later in Australia in the women’s and mixed doubles.
In her Olympic debut in Rio five years ago, Smith exited in the group stages with her then-partner Heather Olver in the women’s doubles.
This time she will be joined by Chloe Birch, forming a pairing with its
Smith said: “We’re both very northern, very tough, opinionated women.
“We are going to clash and disagree but we’re both vocal enough and smart enough to not bury those things down. We’re very upfront and put it all out on the table.
“Sometimes there’s some hurt feelings but we’ve got a common goal and we respect each other.
“We discuss and figure out problems which is better than staying quiet about it. I feel like it’s worked for us so far!”
Smith will face strong Japanese contenders in both draws, particularly in the women’s doubles where she will face Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota at the group stage. She and Birch faced them in the semi-finals at the YONEX All England Open 2021, winning the first game before going down in three.
She added: “I think for me, when I play women’s doubles, my biggest rivals are the Japanese teams, and I can’t just pick one pair because they have so many world class pairs.
“The two that will be going to Tokyo are both capable of taking a gold medal, but we believe we can be competitive.”