Chloe and Sam Magee
It’s 11 years since Chloe Magee picked up her sole AIG FZ Forza Irish Open Badminton title and after last year’s loss in the mixed doubles final, she thinks it’s high time herself and her brother Sam added to their haul of silverware on home turf.
The Irish Open takes place at the National Sports Campus in Dublin from November 14th to 17th and are being televised live on TG4.
There has been no Irish winner in any Irish Open since Scott Evans’s 2012 singles win, but there is a feeling on the badminton circuit that this could well be Ireland’s year.
The Magee siblings from Donegal claimed the biggest prize of their careers last year as a bronze medal came their way in the European Championships, but gold at the AIG FZ Forza Irish Badminton International would be right there in their achievements, Chloe says.
“We were happy to get to the final last year but we were very disappointed that we couldn’t win it in the end. We have always wanted to win the Irish International, Sam and myself, so to get that far and not put in our best performance in the final was a bit disappointing,” said Chloe Magee.
“It was an English pair [Mairs and Moore] who beat us last year. We knew they were a good pair, but we also knew if we played well we’d do better in that final, but that’s the way it goes sometimes on the big day.”
As the top seeds in the competition the Magees won’t have to play the qualifying rounds, but the action starts on November 14 at the National Indoor Arena in Blanchardstown, with finals live on TG4.
But they won’t be alone either as their younger brother Joshua and niece Rachael Darragh will also challenge for honours.
“Josh is playing doubles and singles, and Rachael is playing in the ladies singles and doubles as well. She is the best ladies singles player in the country at the minute,” said Chloe.
While an Irish Open is top of their wishlist for 2018, in 12-months time the duo hope to be well on the way to securing a spot in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Sam says plying their trade among the top players in the world is vital if they want to achieve qualification.
“Chloe and I are lucky that we have a good enough ranking now to play in the bigger tournaments,” said Sam Magee.
“We’re just enjoying the main tour where the top 32 teams in the world can play. It’s a great experience and it’s where we need to be to qualify for the next Olympics.
“It’s a lot tougher going to Asia following the tour and the best players, but the bigger tournaments you play the wins are worth more points. If you don’t like flying you’re in the wrong business.”
It’s been a while, but that 2007 win is something the Magees will look back at for inspiration.
“It was something I didn’t expect to win at that time,” admitted Chloe. “I was playing with a very experience player, Huang Bing. I was young and she was experienced and a brilliant player.
“She was able to take me through playing in a final and kept me calm.
“The Irish Open is always a huge thing for all the Irish players, they want to win that one. We want to play well there this year and it’s one of the weeks that we want to peak for. If we get out best performance out there we definitely won’t be too far away.”