Facing someone known as ‘The Greatest’ in the third round of the TOTAL BWF World Championships was never going to be ideal, but, despite failing to reach the last eight, Rajiv Ouseph relished every second of the challenge.
The Hounslow shuttler lost 14-21 21-17 21-16 to five-time world champion Lin Dan of China, at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena despite the home crowd cheering him along the way.
Ouseph’s prospects looked promising after he took the first set in convincing fashion, including a magical behind-the-back trick shot, but his opponent – a double Olympic gold medallist – soon showed his class to claim victory.
Undoubtedly this was not Ouseph’s desired result, but the 30-year-old was glad to have come so close against such a worthy opponent.
“There are positives to take from the match, but obviously I’m disappointed not to have won,” he said.
“I think I could have tried to push him a bit more at the beginning of the third set, that’s where I lost it I think.
“When I look back on the game in a couple of days time, I will definitely have some positives to take.
“When you’re only one set away from winning you have to feel it’s within your reach, I thought if I started well in the second it could give me a bit of an edge.
“I tried to do that and I had a bit of a lead, but he upped his pace and I struggled to cope with that at the back end of the second game and going into the third – it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Ouseph showed himself to be among the top players in the world when he won European gold this year and the fact he kept Lin at bay for an hour and 21 minutes before losing is further proof of this.
But the Englishman was not disgruntled by the difficult draw and insisted that playing one of the world’s best on British soil was a privilege.
“When I saw the draw, I knew this was the match I really wanted,” he added.
“I had two matches before which I had to fully focus on, but for me it’s been such a big challenge and to play Lin Dan in your home championships is very special and something I’ll never forget.
“I’ll refocus and recharge now, but that won’t really be an issue because I’m going on honeymoon next week, so I’ll have plenty of time to do that.
“But once I come back it’s back into the grind of training and tournaments.”
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August. It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport. Tickets available atwww.glasgow2017.com/tickets
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