Badminton

Badminton couple Ellis and Smith on pursuing their Olympic dream together

Great Britain's mixed doubles pair open up on how their relationship off the court could help them chase a medal at the upcoming Games in Tokyo.

By Sanjeev Palar ·

Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are on a journey together.

The badminton mixed doubles pair's partnership on-court has also developed into an off-court relationship and they shared exclusively with Olympic Channel how they strike a balance between the two as they gear up for the biggest challenge yet, qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"It is really good because, you understand what each other is going through." - Chris Ellis

Ellis and Smith, a successful partnership on and off the badminton court

Great Britain's mixed doubles pair, who are also a couple in life, are aimi...

A chance partnership that blossomed

Ellis and Smith they teamed up ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in order to boost Great Britain's chances of medalling.

It proved a success, with the pair returning home with silver after losing to final to their higher seeded compatriots, Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

Ellis shares that they were then encouraged to continue the partnership by their coaches who felt that there was still a lot more improvement to unlock.

The pair have since steadily progressed up the world ranking order and have fallen in love during the process.

Smith shares that they've known each other since they were teenagers, but things developed once they started spending a lot more time with each other.

"We started to realize that we got on very well, and it kind of evolved and happened." - Lauren Smith

Great Britain's Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith win badminton silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games 

Pursuing their Olympic dream

Both 29-year-old Smith and 32-year-old Ellis played women's and men’s doubles respectively at Rio 2016.

Smith failed to make it past the group stage but Ellis went on to clinch an historic bronze medal for Great Britain, along with his partner Chris Langridge.

Both Ellis and Langridge are on course to book their spot at the Tokyo Games, where they will be hoping to better their bronze. Smith is also looking likely to seal a women's doubles spot with her new partner Chloe Birch.

At the same time, the pair are currently sitting higher than Rio 2016 representatives, the Adcocks, in the Tokyo 2020 qualification rankings.

If they can stay ahead of the Adcocks, they will clinch the qualifying spot for themselves.

For now, both Ellis and Smith are focusing on both partnerships simultaneously, but should they get the chance to represent their nation in the mixed doubles, they habour the dream of being able to medal together at the Olympics.

"The dream is to be in a medal winning position. If we can play at a level where I know that we can be in a medal winning position, I'm happy with that." Chris Ellis

Badminton: Men's Doubles Bronze Match | Rio 2016 Replays

Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge (GBR) 2 - 1 Chai Biao/Hong Wei (CHN)