Badminton: England routed by Denmark

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND were left in no doubt about the size of their task if they are to avoid relegation from the top group of the Sudirman Cup team event when they subsided to a 5-0 defeat against Denmark, their opening opponents, in the World Championships at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, yesterday, writes James Leigh.

They were outplayed in the mixed doubles and men's singles, and the rout was only delayed in the second game of the women's singles when Suzanne Louis led the European champion, Pernille Nedergaard, 7-3.

Little Louis struggled hard, but eventually she lost 11-4, 11-8, to put England 2-0 down after Gill Clark and Nick Ponting had been beaten in the mixed doubles. Then Peter Knowles, who had beaten the Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen in the Danish Open in October, was overwhelmed by the same opponent 15-6, 15-1. England thus lost the match in little more than an hour and a half.

The only excuse was a depressing one. Knowles, the England No 3, was only playing because England's leading player, Darren Hall, is still suffering from a long-standing foot ligament injury. The former European champion is doubtful for the rest of the team event and without him it is difficult to see England surviving.