Badminton / All-England Championships: Hall labours for a Danish double

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DARREN HALL, English national champion a record six times, and Fiona Smith, the triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist, both reached the last 16 of the Yonex All-England championships yesterday. But England's two most impressive performers, Anders Neilsen and Peter Knowles, narrowly failed to make it, writes James Leigh.

Hall earned himself a meeting with the top-seed, Heryanto Arbi, with two rather laboured three-game victories over unranked Danish opponents, Thomas Madsen and Martin Lundgard Hansen. Most of Wembley will be hoping that today he can transform himself and produce one of his fleet- footed world class displays against the brilliant Indonesian.

Smith has better prospects of reaching the last eight because she has progressed in the section in which the seeded Chinese player, Huang Hua, has withdrawn injured, and the young Dane, Tanja Berg, is a beatable opponent today.

Yet Nielsen, who led 8-4 in the final game against the Malaysia's Thomas Cup player, Foo Kok-keong, and Knowles, who was 10-5 up in the final game against the seeded South Korean, Kim Hak-kyun, probably did more to deserve chances to progress to the quarters.

Nielsen had earlier tired out the European semi-finalist from Denmark, Peter Espersen, and Knowles had a solid win over the Swedish international, Rikard Magnusson.

However more notable British success may occur in Atlanta in 1996 following yesterday's announcement that mixed doubles has been included as an official Olympic event for the first time. England has several good players at this discipline.