Sunday, August 20, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
The Olympic gold was the final frontier for Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir. Having achieved that in Rio, the Indonesian Mixed Doubles duo are relaxed and confident as they head into the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017.
Natsir (featured image, centre) said she was happy with her physical condition, her foot injury not having played up recently: “So far so good,” said Natsir. “We played well in Indonesia, and we’re just trying to enjoy the atmosphere. We’re more relaxed now after winning the Olympic gold.”
Among their prime challengers, she conceded, were England’s Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock.
“The European players have an advantage with the home support and familiarity with conditions,” said Natsir. “Your motivation and confidence increases when you’re playing at home.”
It is just a hop over from home for Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock to Glasgow, and the England pair were relishing what amounts to home conditions as they prepared to begin their campaign in the top half of the draw.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games winners – the event was held in Emirates Arena, venue for the World Championships – declared that the familiarity with conditions would aid their campaign.
“We had a slight advantage with travel – not having to deal with jet lag. We’re familiar with this arena,” said Gabrielle Adcock.
Her husband, a World Championships silver medallist with Imogen Bankier, reckoned that they had a shot at going far in the tournament.
“The World Championships in 2011 was a great result, but it was a long time ago. With Gabby, it’s a better partnership, and we look forward to doing well. We tried very hard to get a top-4 seeding, but we just missed it and got a No.5 seeding.”
Earlier, the media was welcomed to Glasgow by Championships Director Anne Smilie, Bailie Norman MacLeod of the Glasgow City Council, and BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund.
Smilie recounted how the past World Championships held in Glasgow in 1997 and 2007 had inspired local players Susan Egelstaff and Kirsty Gilmour, who had gone on to claim honours at the world level.
“One of the benefits of staging the World Championships is that it allows us to showcase our sport to a far greater audience than possible otherwise,” said Smilie. “We will also have a week of fun-filled badminton festival, with 7000 children taking part.”
Lund complimented Badminton Scotland for conducting past events at a high standard and looked forward to the competition beginning tomorrow.
“The venue looks great. We’re looking forward to this week with huge expectations.”