Sunday 21 January 2018

Badminton: Evans faces huge task after nightmare draw

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DUBLIN badminton player Scott Evans got the Olympic draw from hell yesterday.

Evans, ranked 76th in the world, will face reigning World and Olympic champion Lin Dan from China in the first round.

There was better news for Donegal's Chloe Magee, who has been drawn in a group of three, which means she will get a minimum of two games.

Badminton had a straight knockout format in Beijing but a new system has been brought in for London, with qualifying groups designed to give players more matches.

However, because of seeding, some of the groups have only two players.

Lin is seeded second to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei for the Olympics but is widely regarded as the greatest men's player of all time.

Evans has met him before, including in last year's World Championships, but he has never beaten him.

Magee's group pits her against Pi Hongyan of France, a quarter-finalist at the last Olympics, who is now ranked 25th. The Raphoe player took Pi to three sets when the pair met last December in the quarter-finals of the Irish Open.

The other player in the group is Egypt's Hadia Hosny, who is ranked 113th in the world.

Magee, who was beaten in the second round in Beijing, comes from Ireland's pre-eminent badminton family. Her brother Daniel will be coaching her in London and she narrowly failed to qualify for the mixed doubles with her other brother Sam.

Badminton gets under way on Saturday, the first day of the Games, with only the winners of the 16 groups qualifying for the knockout stages.

Irish Independent

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