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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Pair draw on experience
Richard Vaughan and Kelly Morgan
Vaughan and Morgan fancy their chances in Athens
Britain's top badminton players begin their quest for Olympic glory this weekend, with both thankful for a kind draw in the men's and women's singles.

Kelly Morgan, competing in her third Olympics, takes on Australia's Lenny Permana in the first round on Saturday.

And Richard Vaughan, fully recovered after a hip operation last year, plays Portugal's Marco Vasconcelos on Sunday.

The Welsh pair have recently beaten their opponents and are confident of reaching the last 16 for a second time.

Morgan told BBC Sport: "The Chinese are dominating the ladies' singles, so I'm just got to take one game at a time.

I'll try to treat it as any other tournament and try not to think of it as the big event
Kelly Morgan
"I've got an Australian girl in the first round and, since I'm not seeded, that's quite a good draw.

"If I get through that, I'll get a seeded player and it'll be one of the Chinese girls, so it's going to be tough to go one better than four years ago in Sydney."

Morgan, 29, arrives in Athens as the most experienced British player in the game. The thrill and special atmosphere which surrounds the Games are as special as ever, she said.

But the lessons of Sydney and Atlanta have taught her to detach herself from the magnitude of the occasion.

"I'll try to treat it as any other tournament and try not to think of it as the big event," added the world number 16.

"I see all the other girls in tournament around the world, so it should be just like another tournament. But in the back of your mind you know it's the Olympic Games."

Vaughan has endured a rather more troublesome route to qualify for his second Olympics.

It's always been my goal after Sydney to get a medal
Richard Vaughan
The 26-year-old was on crutches for three months until October last year as he recovered from surgery on a long-standing hip injury.

That saw him slip down the rankings to 33 in the world, having been a regular top 10 player since 2000. But he arrives in Athens in "perfect shape" and knows this could be his best chance of fulfilling a life's ambition.

"It's always been my goal after Sydney to get a medal," Vaughan told BBC Sport in Athens.

"It's been made all the more difficult by having an operation last August, so it's been quite a challenge coming back.

"I've only been playing for six months to try to qualify. Everything's gone according to plan, the doctors have been great and without them I wouldn't be here."

Vaughan already has Commonwealth and European medals in his locker, and the favourable draw has boosted his hopes of adding to his collection.

He added: "It's the hardest one to get and you need everything to go right on the day.

"I haven't had a good draw all year, but this is the one that's been nice to me. I'll play the weakest of the 16 seeds if I get through he first round.

"So it's quite good, but there aren't any weak players in the men's singles."





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