ROBERT Blair admitted his attention is starting to turn towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after a last-16 defeat at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships.
Blair, from Edinburgh, and Malaysian men’s doubles partner Bin Shen Tan lost out to Japanese fourth seeds Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa 17-21, 21-13, 21-14 in the second round. However, his progression from round one of qualifying to round two proper in Birmingham has given Blair an idea of what he needs to do to reach next year’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
“I’m aiming for the Commonwealths,” said 31-year-old Blair – who won mixed team silver and men’s doubles bronze medals at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. “I think most of the Scottish players are starting to aim for that, to find out what the qualification roads are and what tournaments they have to play.
“For Scotland, everyone is looking forward to that. Hopefully we’ll be in a good position to try and get some medals. Scotland are looking to going to the World Championships – the Sudirman Cup – so a lot of the build-up is for that and I think there’s a chance to qualify the team for the Commonwealths. It would be fantastic to represent Scotland at a home Commonwealths. After the Olympics, everyone is still excited and the Commonwealths are the biggest thing after that.”
Blair was the last remaining Brit on day three of the All England Open in Birmingham, but admitted his and Tan’s lack of practice together told as the progressed through the rounds. “It’s a bit disappointing because we started well – we were able to compete,” said Blair, “but the second and third set the levels dropped a bit and made a thing our fitness and getting older.
“We’re not practicing too much together, so we’re not getting a rhythm of who’s doing what, which takes its toll.”
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