20 Apr 2015
Birch to lead Loughborough play-off charge
Balancing books with badminton is a dilemma Chloe Birch is faced with on a daily basis.
A Loughborough student and international badminton rising star, Birch has to manage her time well to ensure she meets her own high standards both on the court and in her sports science degree.
“Mixing badminton and studying is pretty tough, but I’m in the best place to be to do it. I live in Butler Court, which is just across the road from the Badminton Centre and lectures aren’t far away. It’s difficult, and there isn’t much free time, but I get to do both things that I love.
“I always wanted to come to Loughborough from a young age, so to now be here studying and putting on the purple shirt is great – I love it!”
Coming to the end of her first year of study at Loughborough, it’s crunch time for Birch with exams and the final league match of the season on the horizon. Taking on Milton Keynes Badminton on Monday 27th April, the Loughborough team have the chance to secure a place in the play-offs on Sunday 7th June.
“This fixture is so important; we really need to win and get some good games on the board to make sure we qualify for the play-offs. It’s one of the biggest matches of the season for us! Our main aim as a team has always been to qualify for play-offs. We had a bit of a tricky start to the season but things are picking up now and we all really want to play in the play-offs and challenge to win.
“Our first match [of the season] was a home fixture and it was really nice playing in Loughborough where family and friends can come and watch; the crowd were really good and they really got behind us. Everyone should come down and cheer us on. It’s good fun to watch, it’s good fun for us to play in and just a really nice evening.”
Already achieving individual success around the world, Chloe will again be part of a winning doubles partnership with Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallist Jenny Wallwork, and believes the league is great for her as an athlete.
“The standard of the league is really high. You’ve got GB athletes that have played in major championships, foreign athletes who are some of the best in the world and are aiming to qualify for the next Olympics, so it’s a really good thing to be part of as an up-and-coming player.
“The NBL has really helped my ambitions as an individual player too, as I get to play with top players who I don’t get to play with on an individual basis.”
Although already a vital component of the team, coach Mike Adams is keen to stress that Chloe is still a developing player, who’s best years are ahead of her.
“Chloe Birch is quite unique to Loughborough, as she’s the only GB programme player not to be training in Milton Keynes, so we’re really pleased to have her here. I’ve known Chloe for about 12 years, so it’s really great to see her here studying at the university and to spotlight her playing in the National Badminton League is fantastic.
“At the moment Chloe is a developing player, so to be playing with the likes of Lauren Smith and Jenny Wallwork who are already established world class players and to not look out of place, and win most of her games, is testament to the ability she has.”
Whether she makes the Rio 2016 Olympics remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that she’ll be doing her utmost to ensure Loughborough secures a place in the National Badminton League play-offs in its inaugural year.
Doors to the final NBL match of the regular season open at 6pm at Loughborough’s Sir David Wallace Arena, with tickets starting at just £5. Secure yours today from the Sky Tickets website.