After an All England Open adventure to savour, Rajiv Ouseph insists he embarks on the Road to Rio with renewed vigour.
Back in March Ouseph reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious All England Open for the first time, eventually succumbing to Japan’s Sho Sasaki.
Since then however results have not been as rosy, as he crashed out of both the Malaysia and Singapore Opens at the first time of asking.
Timing could not be worse either with the Olympic qualification period officially opening at the beginning of the month, meaning crucial points are on offer from here on out ahead of the 2016 Rio Games.
But Ouspeh is not hitting the panic button any time soon, instead adamant he can reproduce his All England form when it really matters.
“I had a really good tournament at the All England, I got to the quarter-finals which is my best result to date,” he said.
“It was great trying to get through to the latter stages and test myself against the world’s best. It just sort of pushed me to want to do that on a more consistent basis and that’s the plan.
“It’s an exciting time for us that the Olympic qualification period has started now. It’s going to be a long tough year but a year that at the end of it, there will be something very good to look forward to in Rio.
“For me it would mean the world to qualify for Rio. I had a great experience in London, being my first Olympics and a home Olympics as well was something very special to me and gave me a taste of wanting to do even better in Rio. I’m putting all my efforts into qualifying for Rio.
“I’m happy with my level at the moment. There’s definitely a step up I can take. For me, I’ve always been someone who could, on my day, play very well and trouble the world’s best.
“It’s just producing that on a more consistent basis, week in week out all the way through. It’s something I’m working on with the coaches, and hopefully this year it can click and I can get to the later stages of the tournaments.”
Ouseph will however take a break from trying to accrue qualification points when he turns out for Team Derby for the finale of the inaugural National Badminton League season at K2 Crawley on June 7.
They face a play-off against local rivals University of Nottingham Badminton first up for a place in the final and captain Ouseph admits lifting the trophy would be a special moment.
“It means a lot for us to get through to the finals and then hopefully go on and win it,” he said.
“The first year of the NBL is something very special and people will definitely remember the first year so for it to be Team Derby will definitely be something very special.
“I think it’s really important for badminton to have the NBL, it’s sort of branched out into a new lot of people watching and maybe a slightly younger generation as well. Hopefully we can carry that on.”
The UK’s first ever National Badminton League (NBL) season comes to a thrilling finale on Sunday, 7 June, at K2 Crawley. Tickets are now available at nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk
© Sportsbeat 2015