Badminton: Versatile Gowers: Britons' World Grand Prix challenge

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GILLIAN GOWERS, who won the mixed doubles title in the World Cup with Sweden's Peter Axelsson in Delhi in August, aims to prove that she is one of the most able doubles players by challenging for the World Grand Prix title with a different partner in Kuala Lumpur from today till Sunday.

She and Michael Sogaard, of Denmark, are seeded to reach the final against Thomas Lund, of Denmark, and Catrine Bengtsson, of Sweden, the world mixed doubles champions.

Gowers and Sogaard have a match in their group against Nick Ponting and Gill Clark, winners of a bronze medal at the World Championships in June. Contests between Gowers and Clark have had a hostile atmosphere over the past six months, since the two split acrimoniously at the World Championships. 'I guess it's a draw we both would have rather avoided, but we shall approach it professionally,' Clark said.

Clark, who was runner-up with Gowers in the women's doubles in the World Grand Prix finals last year, now partners Joanne Wright, with whom she has also qualified.

England's other Grand Prix qualifier, Peter Knowles, makes his debut in the men's singles in the same group as the All-England champion Heryanto Arbi. The favourite is another Indonesian, the world champion Joko Suprianto, although the title holder, Rashid Sidek, of Malaysia, has been unbeaten for three years in Kuala Lumpur. Susi Susanti, the world and Olympic champion, is the women's singles favourite.