Rajiv Ouseph aims to lead English badminton revival

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Rajiv Ouseph
Rajiv Ouseph won Commonwealth silver at the Delhi Games in 2010

Commonwealth silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph wants to lead a revival of English badminton fortunes.

Ouseph, 27, was among four players in the Great Britain squad for last year's Olympics, but they failed to challenge for medals after early defeats.

He will compete in the inaugural London Grand Prix,external-link which will take place at the Copper Box from 1 to 6 October.

"I'm one of the senior players now and I want to lead by example and inspire some of the youngsters," he said.

Ouseph said that he had been helped early in his international career by Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms, who were mixed doubles silver medallists for Britain at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

He believes that players such as Chris Adcock, who won a mixed doubles silver medal for Britain with Scotland's Imogen Bankier at the 2011 World Championships, can inspire English badminton in the future.

He said: "When I came into the squad, there were Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms, who were big figures in the sport and we probably don't have that much now.

"I think people like myself, and Chris Adcock and Gabby White can show it's possible again for British players to be successful."

The world number 25 sees the London Grand Prix as an opportunity to reverse his fortunes after failing to reach the knock-out stages of last year's Olympic badminton tournament, held at Wembley Arena.

"The Olympics was a dream of mine and to achieve that was great, but there was still that lingering feeling that maybe I could have done a little bit better," he said.

"Going back to the Olympic Park, where I didn't play but got to see a lot of the sports, is maybe a chance to set things right a little bit."

Ouseph was knocked out of the London 2012 men's singles by Kevin Cordon of Guatemala

A Commonwealth Games silver medallist in Delhi in 2010, Ouseph hopes to go one better in Glasgow next year.

He has won individual titles in Finland and France this year and intends to demonstrate his potential to the world at this week's event.

"Consistency is key for me against the top guys," he said. "I've had a problem with it in the past but my form this year has been a bit better.

"Other countries such as India and Malaysia have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, but if I take it round-by-round in London and Glasgow, I'll have a chance."

England's recently-married mixed doubles pair Adcock and White miss the event as they on honeymoon, while Scotland's lead duo of Bankier and Robert Blair are competing in other events.

In their absence, England's Chris Langridge and Heather Olver represent the greatest prospect of British success as the third seeds in an event.

Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour is Britain's only seeded player in the women's singles while Ouseph will need to overcome world number five Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, who is the lead ranked player in the men's singles.

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