To Russia with love and two national titles

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Heather Olver flies off to Russia this week with the English team on a high after breaking her duck at the English National Badminton Championships.

The 26-year-old from Eastbourne will be taking part in the European Mixed Team Championships in Ramenskoe near Moscow with the English team among the favourites when the tournament starts on Tuesday.

However Olver, who was last year nursing shattered dreams after missing out on Olympic selection, was in blistering form to win her first ever titles at the English championships which were staged at the National Cycling Centre last weekend.

Together with Chris Langridge, the top seeds, they won the mixed doubles defeating third seeds Marcus Ellis and Alyssa Lim 21-14, 24-22.

The East Sussex star just missed out on a second title when she lost the women’s doubles with partner Mariana Agathangelou in the final.

Olver was due to play with Kate Robertshaw in Manchester, but joined up with former partner Agathangelou who retired from professional badminton last year.

The couple had not dropped a game before losing in the final to second seeds Lauren Smith and Gabrielle White 21-9, 21-9.

Agathangelou said afterwards that despite the final apperance, she would not be making a full-time comeback with Olver. “A nice way to finish my competitive badminton career with Heather – FYI this way no way a come back and I won’t be competing again...I hope,” tweeted the Channel Islander.