Ireland's Evans handed tough draw


Olympics:Ireland’s number one player Scott Evans has been paired with Olympic and world champion Lin Dan of China for his opening two-man group match in the badminton singles at London 2012.

Although seeded second for the Games, behind Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, Lin is regarded by many as the greatest player of all time.

“Scott’s got a tough one - but he’ll enjoy that because he didn’t have medal hopes,” said Nathan Robertson, Britain's former silver medallist, who was involved in the draw at the main press centre on the Olympic Park this morning. “He probably hoped for a match he could win but if not he probably hoped to be against the greatest player of all time. He’ll enjoy it.”

Chloe Magee, ranked 44th in the world, will be buoyed by a far more favourable draw in the women’s event. She will face 33-year-old Beijing quarter-finalist Pi Hongyan of France, who is ranked 19 places ahead of her in 25, and Egypt’s Hadia Hosny, ranked 113.

Magee and Pi have met before, in the quarter-finals of the Yonex Irish Open last December, when the French woman won in three sets, while Hosny has been preparing for the Games in Dublin at the National training centre.

Only the winners of the 16 groups in the singles competitions, some with two players and some with three, will go through to the knockout stages of the competition.

If Lin beats Evans he will face bitter rival Taufik Hidayat, who won gold for Indonesia at the 2004 Athens Games, in the round of 16.

The pair shared a heated rivalry as they battled for supremacy in the middle of the last decade, and have exchanged barbs on and off the court.

Play starts on Saturday, with the schedule to be announced later this week.

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