Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms has agreed to become Badminton England’s first ambassador as the national governing body attempts to bolster the sport through one of its best-known faces.
Emms, 31, who retired after last year’s Beijing Games, will start immediately as a mentor to promising young players at all levels of the game.
Adrian Christy, Badminton England’s chief executive, said: “We couldn’t let Gail just slip away quietly after everything she has done for badminton. She has not only achieved unprecedented success for herself but has also raised the sport’s profile like never before.
Emms, who represented England 68 times following her debut in 1995, will primarily work at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes. She said: “After what badminton has done for me, this is now a great opportunity to give something back to the sport. We have some real talent coming through and I am looking forward to working with the players who can hopefully build on the success that came my way.
“I’ve had a few months to relax and reflect on my playing career and I am now refreshed and ready for this new and exciting challenge. I’m not here to coach but to inspire and motivate and I hope I can play my part in getting people involved in badminton at all levels.
“We have big opportunities to showcase the sport over the next three years in the countdown to London 2012. It’s an opportunity not to be wasted – I can’t wait to get started.”
Christy added: “We have worked very hard to increase the number of people playing our sport and there is a lot more still to be done. We are far more than simply an Elite Olympic sport but a game that can be enjoyed by all age groups – from school and junior level, right through the club and grass-roots level, and on to Veterans. Gail has a big part to play in helping us achieve our ambitions.”