Badminton: Muggeridge resumes attack

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The Independent Online
Joanne Muggeridge has made another attack on the England set-up after bowing out of the All-England championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham yesterday.

On a day when the Olympic silver medallist and top seed, Mia Audina, also lost, the Kent player went down 11-7, 11-4 in the second round to the Japanese qualifier Kanako Yonekura and afterwards claimed it had been "one of the worst experiences of her life".

Already upset at having been thrown out of the England squad, Muggeridge said: "I was there completely alone. There were five English coaches there and no one was supporting me.

"I have had no one cheering for me at all, not even when I have done well, when I won yesterday [Tuesday]. That's pretty bad really."

Muggeridge, who had a letter from the Badminton Association relieving her of all England responsibilities after a dispute about her fitness, could not sustain her effort. She may have been mentally distracted by the conflicts, which now look likely to go to the law courts, but she also appeared to have suspect stamina.

There were flashes of outstanding strokeplay, but she lost the last four rallies of the first game quickly, and a long rally at 4-8 in the second game appeared to wind her.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with my fitness but mentally it was extremely difficult. I had so many things going on in my head," she said.

The England manager, Steve Baddeley, disagreed, saying: "She is a very talented player, but we saw that over two games she wasn't able to maintain her level. That's why she has to improve her fitness."

Julie Bradbury, England's most successful player over the past three years, saw her international comeback - after six months away from the world circuit - halted by injury to her partner, Nick Ponting. Bradbury stormed off the court in frustration after Ponting quit with a stomach muscle problem during their second-round match.

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