Given the itinerant lifestyle of professional badminton players, Longtown ace Lauren Smith treasures every opportunity she gets to play in front of her home fans.

Five-time Commonwealth Games medallist Smith will get the chance to do just that at the YONEX All England Championships in Birmingham next month, the pinnacle of the BWF World Tour.

For Smith, there are many highlights to the event, taking place from March 6-10.

“To play on home soil is a really big deal for us,” she said. “The crowd gets behind you; the hall’s a really enjoyable venue to play in; the style of game you can play in there really suits how I like to play - [and] especially to not have to travel so far to an event is definitely an advantage!

"It’s a great opportunity to showcase our best, so I’m really looking forward to getting started. 

“When you’re having those harder moments or you’re maybe feeling like it’s not going your way, to have the crowd behind you to lift you and motivate you, it really helps. 

“And it’s those marginal differences that, when you get to the end of games or really close games, is the thing that turns it round in your favour.” 

With more than 30,000 fans set to descend upon Arena Birmingham, Smith is preparing for action, alongside both Chloe Birch and Marcus Ellis.

Smith, 27, knows her bid to become the first British winner at the competition since 2005 won’t be straightforward.

She said: “I’d have to see how the draw comes out because there’s a lot of depth in the women’s doubles, so there’ll be some challenges there.

"If we get a win under our belts and then challenge a top-level pair, I’d be happy with that. 

“In the mixed, I’d love to reach a quarter-finals - I’ve not reached a quarter-final of the All England. 

"For me, it’s just taking it game-by-game and trying to play well. I’m pretty confident. 

"Marcus and I have been playing quite well, taking some good scalps, and Chloe and I only started playing together in September and I feel we’re really growing as a pair. 

"We’re playing very confidently and, if we can continue our form, I think that’ll make a big difference.”

Smith is currently competing at the European mixed team Badminton Championships.

*The 2019 YONEX All England will wow fans at Arena Birmingham, 6-10 March. For tickets, go to