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GB-coach Jakob Hoi takes ambitious route to All England

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Jakob Hoi, the Great Britain head coach, admits to taking an ambitious approach into the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships, which start on Tuesday with qualifying, but remains realistic in terms of how results could pan out.

A change in GB doubles pairings ahead of Olympic qualification means that Chris and Gabby Adcock, the world number six mixed doubles pair, remain the brightest hope for home success in Birmingham at the revamped Barclaycard Arena, formerly the National Indoor Arena. Four British entrants have made the main draw of this year's YONEX All England, which this year will signal the start of the 13-leg BWF Superseries Premier tour.

"This is probably the strongest Superseries event due to the history and the All England is one everyone wants to win," said Hoi. "Our players will find it tough in qualifying, however, we are ambitious about the tournament."

"I have to be realistic this year as we are also still working out with our new doubles pairs. We all want to perform but the strongest card we have at the moment is Gabby and Chris. But it doesn't mean they have to win. They just have to keep focusing on what they are working on."

The Adcocks, seeded sixth, have been drawn against tough Indonesian opponents, Markis Kido and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, in the first round on Wednesday.

But Hoi says that the British pair are eyeing an enticing last eight clash on Friday night against Indonesia's fourth seeds Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad, who are gunning for their fourth successive All England title. "There's no doubt they are going for a head-to-head with the Indonesians," said the Dane.

"It is everyone's expectations, including Chris and Gabby, in a tournament as big as this. Normally, we say about the Indonesians that they get cold in Europe, but this pair are going for their fourth title and they have delivered here."

Britain's last home success at the All England came a decade ago when Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms won the mixed doubles title, but Hoi played down the suggestion that the Adcocks were feeling the pressure.

"They expect from themselves that they want to win," he said. "They are very competitive and they don't have any burden on their shoulders." Britain's other main hope lies with unseeded Rajiv Ouseph in the men's singles and England's number one has been dealt a tough draw against Son Wan Ho, Korea's third seed.

"When it comes to men's singles in Superseries Premier it is very likely you will bump into a top 10 player in the first round and the Koreans are really strong in stamina and defence," said Hoi.

"But Raj can play faster than he can when at his best. It will be really tough, but if he can deliver at the level we know he has, then he can push the Korean."

Elsewhere, Fontaine Chapman will contest qualification in the women's singles, so too Peter Mills and Andy Ellis and Christopher Coles and Paul Van Rietvelde in the men's doubles. They will compete for a place in the main draw alongside Matt Nottingham and Harley Towler.

Heather Olver and Lauren Smith will look to bring recent form into their women's doubles qualification assault, with Kate Robertshaw and Sophie Brown already confirmed in the main draw.

In mixed doubles, Coles and Brown, Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore, and Towler and Emily Westwood will all contest qualifying.

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via Badminton Europe

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