Wallwork still eyes national crown despite enforced split

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Jenny Wallwork wanted to make history at the English National Badminton Championships this year and while that’s no longer possible, she insists it hasn’t stopped her desire to win once again.

The 26-year-old, along with Gabby White, had her sights firmly set on becoming the first pair to win the women’s doubles title for a fourth successive time when it kicks off in Manchester on February 1.

However Wallwork and White no longer play together following changes made by Badminton England and instead will compete against each other with Alex Langley and Lauren Smith respectively.

Both partnerships are still new, and Wallwork has been battling injury but, as a three-time women’s doubles and two-time mixed doubles winner, she’s still determined to leave victorious.

“Gabby and I got split up a few months ago. We were not very happy with it and we did want to play together and retain the title,” said the Rushden-based badminton star.

“But the guys at the national centre wanted to mix things up and get the level of everyone better so we have two new partners.

“It’s quite difficult. For nationals we have always loved playing in them and we were looking forward to another chance to defend the title.

“Nobody has ever managed to win it four years running so we were planning on getting that record but we will all have the same mentality to go and win it.

“It is going to be difficult to win it this year because all the pairs are fully level and we have had not the best of starts because of my injury but I hope we can do well.”

Just over a month after the English National Championships Wallwork is hopeful that she will be playing at the prestigious Yonex All England Open in Birmingham.

She reached the quarter-finals with former partner and Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson last year but Wallwork, now with Andy Ellis, simply wants to get to the main draw first.

“I just hope we can get in. It is definitely my favourite tournament to play in and it is always something I look forward to in the year,” she added.

“I have done well there in the past and Nathan and I got to the quarter-finals last year so I enjoy playing there. At the moment the main focus is to get on the main draw.”

Tickets for every day of the English National Badminton Championships are available at www.nationalbadmintonchamps.co.uk or call the box office on 08445 811424.