Badminton ace Lauren Smith admits her doubles joy alongside Chloe Birch at the RSL Kharkiv International is a major boost to their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying campaign.

Longtown’s Smith and Birch beat Canadian duo Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai in the women’s doubles final 21-14, 21-18 on Sunday in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

"It was a great tournament for us, especially as the Canadian pair we beat in the final beat us the last time we met," said the five-time Commonwealth Games medallist.

"That win showed that our hard work is paying off.

"The areas we’ve worked on were significantly better, so we’re really happy with that."

Having began their qualifying campaign by making the final of the Denmark Challenge in May, Smith and Birch have also won the Azerbaijan International title, as well as claiming European Games silver, while Smith also won mixed doubles gold with Marcus Ellis at the European Games.

On her success with Birch, Carlisle-born Smith, 27, added: “It’s also a great result towards us qualifying.

"The points from this will lift us as we look to qualify for Tokyo.

"It’s also great for confidence going into a very busy couple of months of competitions.”

Smith was involved at the Rio 2016 Olympics, representing Team GB in the women’s doubles alongside Heather Olver.

In Group C, the duo suffered back-to-back losses in their first two games, as they were knocked out, but did manage to beat Hong Kong pair Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet in their third and final group-stage clash.