Badminton: Hallam recovers from poor start to take out Tanaka

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The Independent Online

Tracey Hallam came back from a disastrous first game to inflict defeat on the first seed to fall in the World Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham yesterday.

The Commonwealth silver medallist lost the opening game 11-1, but recovered to beat the 14th seed, Miho Tanaka of Japan, 1-11, 11-2, 11-4 to be the first English player to win through to tomorrow's second round, where she will meet the German Juliane Schenk.

The 28-year-old, from Burton-on-Trent, said: "After a chat with my coach at the end of the first game, I came out a totally different player."

However, England's No 2, Aamir Ghaffar of Middlesex, lost easily to the 10th seed, Ronald Susilo of Singapore, 15-2, 15-7 in 30 minutes.

The Championships, postponed because of fears over an epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, started more than two months late. The tournament had originally been scheduled for 12-18 May.

Although the decision to delay the Championships caused controversy, entries have stood up well and 320 players from 44 countries will be battling for titles in seven days of action here.

Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians look set to dominate as they did at the last World Championships in Seville in 2001, when Asian players swept all five disciplines - men's and women's singles, men's, women's and mixed doubles.

The Championships serve as a key event in the Olympic qualifying programme and officials sense the same degree of excitement that pervaded the sport in the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Games.

The International Badminton Federation's chief executive, Neil Cameron, said: "I am very pleased to see the same indications as we had in 1999-2000."