London: Gail Emms who won the mixed doubles silver in Athens Olympic with Nathan Robertson, has openly admitted to struggling with finding a job and to make ends meet.
The former badminton star who won gold with Robertson at the 2006 IBF World Championships, was also the winner of two European Championships and two Commonwealth Golds in a glittering career. She told BBC Sport that she has a lot of unpaid bills and was forced to sell some of her medals on eBay with the life of an ex-athlete in retirement.
“I have a big pile of letters from my bank to say I have missed yet another payment for either council tax, phone or utility bill.”
“And every time I open those letters, it is another reminder that I feel like I am failing. That I, Gail Emms, Olympic Silver Medallist, am a failure.”
The former World No. 1 mixed doubles player retired after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, ever since her retirement, she has had a tough time finding work without a solid education background.
“But why would someone employ me? I have a c.v. that reads ‘played professional badminton for 10 years’.”
“And I have just turned 40 years old. I have no qualifications other than a sports science degree completed in 1998.”
“There has been a lot of talk about supporting athletes’ post-retirement for mental health and, right now, I need that support.”
“I am feeling lost and with no direction, no purpose, no career, no identity and who the hell do I go to? I want to provide for my family, to be a strong role model and feel like I belong somewhere and be part of a team again. Mentally, I am not sure I can cope with more rejections, more obstacles, more feeling like I am losing. I don’t know where to turn.”
“So, if you see me as a barista at Starbucks – and please don’t think I am joking here – I apologize now if I get your name wrong.”