GREG Mairs, from Northwich, says a first victory at the prestigious YONEX All England Open Championships has boosted his confidence.

Along with his mixed doubles partner Jenny Moore, the 21-year-old celebrated a maiden success at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Tuesday.

The duo, both students at Loughborough University, saw off seeded Swedish pair Nico Ruponen and Amanda Hogstrom in straight sets.

They exited the competition at the second qualifying round stage later the same afternoon after losing 10-21, 21-15, 15-21 against Yang Lee and Pei Chen Hsieh of Chinese Taipei.

“We have been watching this competition since we were really young and our families were here to support us, so it was absolutely brilliant to get a first win,” said Mairs, a former pupil at Weaverham High School.

“I’m disappointed to lose afterwards, but the legs and mind weren't quite there after back-to-back matches the same afternoon.”

The YONEX All England sees the world’s best players descend upon the Midlands for an event that is the highlight of the year for most British players.

Thousands of fans from across the country, and further afield, pack into the Barclaycard Arena to cheer on their favourite players.

Mairs added: “Last year was our first and we were a little bit overwhelmed just walking past all these big players in the corridor.

“It was fantastic to be involved with what is the biggest tournament in the calendar, bar the Olympics, once again.

“It definitely develops your game and it makes you want to work even harder because you want to be here winning.

“Our opponents in the played in the first qualifying round had just come off the back of a big win [during a tournament] in Germany but we knew if we played well we could compete with them.

“We had a little blip at the end of the second game, but turned it around and I think we played to a high level.”

The world’s best players took part in the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena from March 8.

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