Longtown badminton ace Lauren Smith believes she made a good start to her Olympic qualifying campaign in Denmark.

Smith, 27, reached the final of the Denmark Challenge alongside doubles partner Chloe Birch, where the pair lost out 21-13, 21-18 to Japanese pair Saori Ozaki and Akane Watanabe at the event in Farum. The tournament also saw the former William Howard School student begin the process of earning a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“That was our first qualifying event. It [Olympic qualifying] runs until next May now, so we’re expecting to be really busy,” Smith said.

"Although we lost in the final, it was definitely a good start.

"In the quarter-final and semi-final, I think we really dominated with our attack and speed, which is something we’ve worked on a lot in the last few weeks.

"So, it was encouraging to see the hard work we’ve put in paying off."

On her performance in the final, five-time Commonwealth Games medallist Smith, who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics, said: “In the final, I think we struggled to get the same rhythm and the Japanese pair were really consistent.

“But, like I say, overall it was a good tournament.”

Smith is now in China for the Sudirman Cup, where she is co-captain of the England team alongside Toby Penty.

She said: “It’s a real honour.

“The team are in an extremely strong group with Denmark and Indonesia but the whole team will be out to show their best.”