Badminton stars prepare for tough World Champs passage

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ENGLAND’S greatest 2011 Badminton World Championship hopefuls will have to do it the hard way if they are to win a medal after being given a low seeding in the competition.

Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork – based at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes – have been named as number 10 seeds in the mixed doubles, meaning they are likely to receive a tough opening round draw in the Yonex BWF World Badminton Championships to take place at Wembley Arena in early August.

The pair are the only home players to be seeded in any of the tournament’s five events, but are considered the country’s best medal prospects. Indeed, Robertson is a former world champion having won the competition with partner Gail Emms in 2006.

But the strength of the Asian opposition is reflected in the seedings as they dominate all five events, with China’s Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei top seeds in the mixed doubles. The draw itself will be revealed on Monday – two weeks before the start of the competition.

“It’s a shame we’re not in the top eight, but we’ve beaten four of the top 10 pairs already this year,” said Robertson.

“If we can pick up a favourable draw and reach the quarter finals then we can cause problems for the remaining pairs if we play our A Game.

“But we need to avoid the top Chinese and possibly top Danish pairs for as long as possible.”

The tournament starts on August 8 at Wembley Arena – also the venue for the badminton competition at next year’s London Olympics.