Emms backing Adcocks as ones to watch this summer

Emms backing Adcocks as ones to watch this summer

29 April 2016 / 14:40

Gail Emms knows what it takes to stand on an Olympic podium and believes Chris and Gabby Adcock offer Team GB their best chance of winning a medal in over a decade.

Emms and her mixed doubles partner Nathan Robertson were the last British badminton players to secure a top three finish at an Olympic Games after claiming silver at Athens 2004.

The only other Olympic medallists from these shores are Simon Archer and Joanne Goode, who won bronze in the mixed doubles four years earlier in Sydney.

Chris and Gabby are the best medal chance we have had since I was playingGail Emms

Emms and Robertson attempted to better their silver in Beijing and showed signs they might when defeating the hosts’ second seeds to reach the quarter-finals.

But they bowed out at that stage, in what was Emms’ last international match, while at London 2012, no Team GB players managed to make it out of the group stages of the various competitions.

Four years on though and Britain now have new Olympic medal hopes in the form of husband-and-wife pairing Chris and Gabby Adcock.

The Adcocks are currently seventh in the world and former world champion Emms is optimistic Rio will produce a British podium finish in badminton once again.

“Chris and Gabby are the best medal chance we have had since I was playing,” she said.

“Chris was partnered with Imogen Bankier at London 2012 but but Chris and Gabby now have more experience and are the best medal chance we have in badminton.

“Everyone is going to be excited for it because it is the Olympics but the fact they could win a medal means it is more nerve-wracking now.”

“The mixed doubles in the last year has been really topsy-turvy and anyone in the top eight could win it and that includes Chris and Gabby.”

The qualification window to earn a place at Rio is set to close on Sunday with the Adcocks, who are currenly in action at the European Championships, sixth in the rankings.

Their place will still need to be ratified by the British Olympic Association but the duo know that, on their day, they can beat the world’s best after making history in December by becoming the first British players to win a title at badminton's World Superseries Finals in Dubai.

It was the biggest victory of their careers and they followed it up by reaching the semi-finals of the prestigious Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham last month.

Emms, who now enjoys a successful career in the media, said: “The end-of-year Dubai tournament is like a celebratory event of what has happened that season and Chris and Gabby went into it not seeded and in a really tough group.

“Then they took their chance and said ‘let’s do it’ and they did. They were relaxed about it and the fact they did it is a massive confidence boost ahead of the Olympics and it shows what they can possibly do.”

Emms now only plays competitively in the AJ Bell National Badminton League and is set to be part of the Team Derby side who will look to retain their title at the Finals Day on May 8.

“I have no idea if Team Derby will win it,” she said. “I should have a media-friendly answer ready to go but I genuinely have no idea who is going to win.

“It could be us, Loughborough Sport, University of Nottingham or Birmingham Lions. We will give it our best shot and see what happens.”

The AJ Bell National Badminton Finals Day – The Ultimate Smashdown takes place on Sunday 8 May at the Barclaycard Arena. For tickets and information, visit www.nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk

Sportsbeat 2016