BIRMINGHAM: England's Rajiv Ouseph believes that European singles players are slowly but surely catching up with their Asian counterparts.
While Europe has always provided a strong challenge in the doubles events, it is the men’s singles that has always been lacking since the glory days of Denmark’s Peter Gade.
But Ouseph, who defeated Gade in the first round of the All-England two years ago, believes that the European men are definitely on their way back up once more.
This was after the lanky 27-year-old fought to a superb win over China’s world No. 7 Du Pengyu in the first round of the All-England on Wednesday.
England collected the silver medal at the European Team Championships after a 3-1 final defeat by Denmark in Basel.
Team captain Rajiv Ouseph gave England a solid start with a singles victory over Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
But Andy Ellis and Chris Adcock, and Chris Langridge and Peter Mills, lost their doubles encounters while Toby Penty lost the second singles match.
"We were here to win, but also to measure our level, and I'm proud of the silver," said England coach Jakob Hoi.
"Being in the final gave us the opportunity to compete against the best and that's what we are here for."
England's men beat Germany 3-1 to set up a meeting with Denmark in the final of the European Team Championships.
Rajiv Ouseph won his singles match while doubles pairs Chris Adcock and Andy Ellis, and Chris Langridge and Peter Mills, were both victorious.
It means England will collect silver for the first time in the competition after taking bronze two years ago.
Victory over the Danes on Sunday would also give England their first gold in a European team event since 1984.
Badminton England has announced sports equipment firm Yonex has signed a multi-year deal to become the official sports equipment partner of the English National Championship series.
This year's Championships are due to take place at stadium:mk in Milton Keynes on February 8 and 9.
Badminton England is based in Milton Keynes and this will be the first time the Championships will be staged in the city after taking place at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester for the past nine years.
Japanese firm Yonex has a long association with the sport of badminton and the company has been a long-term partner of Badminton England.