The Yonex All England Badminton Championships got under way with wall to wall qualifying action at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham today.

England’s four-times English National champion Elizabeth Cann and two-time men’s singles runner-up Carl Baxter were bidding for places in the main draw at the 100th Championships. But their quests ended in disappointment.

Baxter lost to Kazushi Yamada of Japan in a marathon 21-18 24-26 21-16 and so failed in his bid to join Andrew Smith and Rajiv Ouseph in the main draw.
Jersey’s Cann came through a first-round match against Canadian Anna Rica 22-20 14-21 21-14 but then fell at the final hurdle losing to the No 1 qualifying seed Linda Zechiri of Bulgaria 21-15 21-16 leaving Scot Susan Egelstaff as Britain’s only representative in the women’s singles draw.

Three English pairs were featured in the men’s doubles.

Dean George and Andrew Ellis progressed to the main draw with a win over the No 4 seeds Vitalij Durkin and Alexandr Nikolaenko of Russia 21-19 21-18. But Peter Mills and Marcus Ellis went out to the Korean pair Kim and Shin 21-19 21-13 and Chris Langridge and Robin Middleton, seeded 4, lost 18-21 21-18 21-16 to Mikkel Elbjorn and Christian John Skovgaard in the last match of the night.

After the women’s doubles had to be re-drawn Mariana Agathangelou and Heather Olver, seeded 3, were given a first-round bye, playing Wales pair Caroline Harvey and Carissa Turner for a place in the main draw. The English pair came through comfortably 21-12 21-9.

England’s Samantha Ward and Scotland’s Jillie Cooper came through a first round meeting with Cann’s conqueror Anna Rice and Michelle Li 21-6 21-12 before losing to the No 4 seeds Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko of Canada.
In the mixed doubles Dean George and Samantha Ward lost their first round match to the Chinese pair Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 16-21 21-15 21-14 but the Anglo/Scottish pairing of Chris Langridge and Jillie Cooper faired better beating Andrew Ellis and Emma Mason 10-21 22-20 21-9 before going out to Hashimoto and Fujii of Japan 21-15 21-17.

In tomorrow’s first round Nathan Robertson and Anthony Clark, last year’s Singapore Open winners, will tackle the men’s doubles and mixed doubles with partners Jenny Wallwork and Heather Olver.

Wallwork and Gabby White will lead the women’s doubles challenge while , in the big battle of Britain on day one Chris Adcock and White will take on Robert Blair and Glasgow’s Imogen Bankier.

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