English badminton national champions Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith have reason more than most to look back on a ‘job well done’ in 2018 after qualifying for badminton’s prestigious HSBC BWF World Tour Finals to be held in Guangzhou, China 12-16 December.
The pair, who both made their Olympic debuts for Team GB in Rio, have only been playing as a partnership since September 2017 but have fast established themselves on badminton’s World Tour, reaching six finals and winning four titles in the past 12 months whilst also netting European bronze and Commonwealth Games silver.
That run has seen titles won in Canada, Germany, Holland and most latterly, Glasgow.
The latest of their title wins together – that being at last weekend’s Scottish Open mixed doubles – came with extra significant and reward for the pair: a shot at winning a share of the $1.5 million prize pot on offer at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals
It is an outstanding achievement that was not on the radar at the start of the year but one that is true reflection of a run of form that has seen them emerge as one of the eight most consistently performing pairs in world badminton during 2018.
Determined by ranking points earned, the showpiece end of season shootout sees the world’s top 8 performing players and pairs in each discipline compete in group and knockout competition format to end the season on a high.
It will be the first time Ellis and Smith have individually qualified for the extravaganza.
England have a rich recent history at the World Tour finals having seen the Adcocks top the podium in 2015 and end as silver medallists in 2016.
Ellis and Smith are Europe’s sole representatives in the highly contested mixed doubles draw.
Before heading out to rejoin the World Tour in China, Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are set to compete alongside their England team mates when the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes plays host to England fixtures against Italy, Belgium and Hungary in Euro Mixed Team Qualifier action, 7-9 December.
It is anticipated that Smith and Ellis will play some part against Italy on Friday 7 December (6.30pm) before departing for China.
Limited Tickets are now on sale via Badminton England