July 25, 2022
England begin their badminton mixed team campaign against Barbados on Friday with real hopes of continuing their glittering Commonwealth Games record.
The event kicks-off in the NEC at Birmingham 2022 with 16 nations vying for medal success in the all-action format.
Split into four groups of four, the nations will contest five matches against their three group stage opponents in each of the five disciplines – men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
The top two from each group move on to the quarter-finals and then semis before bronze and gold medal matches on August 2.
Team England received a setback last week when Abigail Holden was unfortunately forced to withdraw through injury but the remaining nine players in the squad contain an exciting mixture of youth and experience.
Barbados provide the opposition for England’s Group 2 opener on July 29 before a second tie against Mauritius later that day ahead of what may well turn out to be a table-topping clash with Singapore on the 30th.
Several of the men in the squad heading to Birmingham have plenty of recent experience in the team format having featured in the Thomas Cup earlier this year.
Toby Penty, Callum Hemming, Lane and Vendy all turned out in Thailand, where England exited at the group stage after finishing behind Malaysia and Japan.
England have an illustrious history in the mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games, however, stretching back to wins in the first eight editions between 1966 and 1994.
More recently, medal success has included two bronzes, in Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018, either side of a silver at Glasgow 2014.
Should England progress through the group stage, stern tests lie in wait. Defending champions India headline Group 1, fresh from their maiden Thomas Cup victory in May.
They begin the defence of their crown with bouts against South Asian neighbours Sri Lanka and Pakistan ahead of a contest with Australia.
Scotland, drawn in Group 3, make the short trip to Birmingham with aspirations of bettering their quarter-final finish four years ago with ties against Maldives, Uganda and Canada.
Malaysia, who took mixed team gold in three successive Commonwealth Games between 2006 and 2014, take on South Africa and Jamaica in Group 4.
Zambia, who stepped-in to replace Nigeria following their withdrawal in May, round out the quartet.
Once seeded based on their group stage performances, the eight remaining sides will begin the knockout stage on July 31 ahead of the semi-final clashes the following day, with the final taking place on August 2.
You can follow all the action in Birmingham from Friday 29th July at 9am across the BBC.