British duo aim to spring a surprise

26 July 2012 / 14:28

Great Britain's badminton mixed doubles pair hope to give the world number ones a rude awakening as they meet in their London 2012 opener on Sunday morning.

Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier launch their Olympic campaign when they take on China's top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei at 8.30am on the second day of competition at Wembley Arena.

The Anglo-Scottish duo were beaten by the same opponents in the final of the World Championships at the same venue last year but have overcome them twice since.

Glaswegian Bankier said: "Having the Chinese first is probably an advantage, especially early in the morning.

"We've played well early before. When we have beaten that pair before it was early in the morning. Obviously they have come from Asia, so hopefully they will be slightly jetlagged! That could work in our favour."

Bankier and Adcock, ranked 10th in the world, will carry Britain's best badminton medal hopes after announcing themselves with their run to the World Championships final.

Then unheralded, they beat four seeded pairs en route to the gold medal match and generated the momentum to secure a place at the Olympics.

They beat off the challenge of compatriots Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork to qualify.

Robertson has since retired but, as one of the country's greatest-ever players, remains a source of inspiration, particularly for the Olympic silver he won in 2004 with Gail Emms.

Bankier, 24, said: "I think Gail and Nathan, what they did, put badminton on the map as a sport. They were a tremendous pair, they won Olympic silver and world gold, so to be compared to them is quite an honour. But we are a different pair and if we could emulate them that would be fantastic, but we are focused on our own performance."