By Ben Baker, Sportsbeat
Matthew Nottingham might have left last year’s English National Championships clutching bronze, but the Wilmslow badminton starlet has his sights on blowing that out of the water at this year’s competition.
The 19-year-old will arrive in Bolton for next month’s tournament full of confidence after he and men’s doubles partner Chris Coles finished joint third, while still a junior.
Former Wilmslow High School pupil Nottingham’s junior days are now firmly behind him, waving goodbye in style with European gold in April, and he has shown no signs of slowing down at a higher level – the duo winning the Welsh International in December.
This time last year Nottingham and Coles were ranked 159th but now sit inside the top 100, leaving the Wilmslow ace confident of enjoying a weekend to remember in Bolton.
“We reached the semi-finals in the men’s doubles last year which was a good result for us but I think that this year we are definitely better players,” he said.
“So this time around the aim is to go one better and make the final, and to do that we will have to beat one of the more established pairs.
“That would be a huge win for us and would show what we are about but we know how hard it will be because all of the English pairs above us are very strong.
“Chris Adcock and Andy Ellis are very strong and after Chris did so well in the World Championships it is a real inspiration for youngsters coming through like me.
“But that won’t stop us from doing all we can and really a bronze should be the minimum we should aim for this year, with a final place a real possibility.”
Despite the calendars flipping over to 2012 and all thoughts turning to the Olympics, Nottingham knows that because of his age he is unlikely to star in London.
However, there is no dampening his mood as he believes he will still benefit from the home Games, even just from a watching brief.
“London 2012 is going to come around too soon for a young player like me but that doesn’t mean it can’t be huge boost anyway,” he added.
“We have got a great chance of a medal in the mixed doubles and my family and I have managed to get some tickets so that could be great.
“Just a chance to sample the atmosphere and get a feeling for what an Olympics is all about, that’s my dream to one day compete at one.”
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