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Deze afbeelding hoort bij 'Kharkov International 2011 - A Preview' en is gemaakt door Google Maps
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Kharkov International 2011 - A Preview

Deze afbeelding hoort bij 'Kharkov International 2011 - A Preview' en is gemaakt door Google Maps
© Google Maps+

After an exciting weeks play in Slovakia the Badminton Europe Circuit moves further east to the Ukraine for the Kharkov International (15.000 US Dollars). There is a marked step up in quality as we move from International Series to International Challenge rated tournament and with it comes a strong entry list from across Europe and Asia.

In the men's singles the big draw is without doubt the appearance of world junior champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Axelsen comes into the tournament as top seed and a possible quarter final meeting with fellow Dane Joachim Persson is surely going to sort out the pecking order of men's singles currently within the Danish national set up.

Brice Leverdez of France is seeded two but will probably face a very determined Chethan Anand of Indian in the quarter final after a very poor performance by the Indian in Slovakia last week. Anand will come to the Ukraine with a lot to prove and improve on.

It is worth taking a quick glance back into qualifying and the stand out name there is young Ukrainian Artem Pochtarev who reached the semi final in Slovakia last week in his first senior tournament. Luka Petric will also try and bring his Slovak form through qualification after a good run in Slovakia last week.

In the women's singles Olga Konon (pictured) from Germany is the top seed as world number 26 and is seeded to meet Russian Anastasia Prokopenko in the final. The last time both met it was the Russian who was victorious at the Denmark International. There are many tough hurdles for both to clear before a final berth is achieved with Zechiri, Cann and Chen Jiayuan in Konon's half of the draw while down the bottom Prokopenko had Magee, Griga and Egelstaff.

While they might never get to play each other an interesting off court battle continues between Elizabeth Cann and Susan Egelstaff as both players fight it out to represent GB at the London Olympics next year. As it stands there are just 3 world ranking places between them as we enter the business end of Olympic Qualification.

The men's doubles sees some top European pairs converge on the east European state with Poles Cwalina and Logosz installed as top seeds. It's a tough draw for the Poles as sitting on the top half of the draw with them are Germans Fuchs and Roth. Denmark have sent new combination of Kolding and Skovgaard and it will be interesting to see how Skovgaard adapts to playing with the tall Kolding after spending many seasons with the powerful back court king Mikkel Elbjørn. In fact if you look at the list of entries for the upcoming Belgium International you will see an interesting development where Elbjorn will now partner Irelands Sam Magee. Also in the bottom half of the draw is Russian pair Sozonov and Ivanov who are seeded at 2.

The women's doubles is pretty light on numbers but high on quality. All England Semi finalists Røpke and Kruse are seeded 3 with top German pairing of Michels and Marinello topping the list for favourites for gold.

The mixed competition is as competitive as you can get at a European International Challenge event and Germany will hope to bag top spot on the podium with Fuchs and Michels. Kolding and Houmann are seeded to meeting the Germans in the final but will have to get past Ukrainian home favourites Atrashchenkov and Prus in their push for a medal. Not to be ruled out are Irish duo of Sam and Chloe Magee who have been show great form this year on the BE circuit. Let's see can the Irish continue that good form after the summer break.

badmintoneurope.tv will be live in Kharkov this coming week with all day live streaming from the show court plus extensive post match interviews and live commentary for semi finals and finals.

Mark Phelan

door

via Badminton Europe

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