Beijing 2008 – Team GB: Badminton (pic)


Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms have been one of the great British sporting double acts in recent years.

The badminton mixed doubles pair came to national prominence at the Athens Olympics when they exceeded all expectations by winning the silver medal.

Their final contest against China's Zhang Jun and Gao Ling was one of the most thrilling and memorable events at the Games, with the British pair just edged out in the deciding game despite being up 11-8 at one stage.


However, with more experience behind them, Robertson and Emms will travel to Beijing hoping to capture that gold medal which would see them join Olympic royalty alongside other great sporting pairs such as Torvill and Dean and Redgrave and Pinsent.

It will also be an emotional occasion as Emms has announced her intention to retire from the sport after the Games.

The pair have shown since the last Olympics that they can win on the big stage, having won World Championship gold in Madrid in 2006.

They also won the All-England Championships in 2005 and silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

However, at last year's worlds in Kuala Lumpur, the duo were knocked out in the quarter-finals, but they are still ranked number six in the world and have definite medal prospects.

Certainly they would love another crack at playing Zhang and Gao, and beating them in their own back yard would be all the sweeter, but in the four meetings they had against the Chinese pair last season they lost every match.

They will also face some tough competition from closer to home, with fellow English pair Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg also ranked in the world's top 10.

Clark and Kellogg were Robertson and Emms opponents in the World Championship final in Madrid, and a repeat final would be the dream scenario for all involved with British Badminton.

In Beijing, Emms and Kellogg should also be watched in the women's doubles (they are ranked seventh in the world), while in the women's singles Tracey Hallam is a top-20 player.

With hot prospects such as Gabby White and Chris Adcock also coming up through the ranks, Britain should be in an even stronger position to compete for badminton medals come 2012.

Emms will not be there of course, but everybody involved in the sport in Britain will be hoping that she can retire this summer with a gold medal around her neck.

Andrew Smith is the sixth member of the team and will play in the men's singles.



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