Team GB Exclusive: Adcock clocks up the miles on road to Rio

Team GB Exclusive: Adcock clocks up the miles on road to Rio

14 May 2015 / 08:33

Gabby Adcock believes there'll be more benefits than air miles to her hectic jet-set lifestyle come next year's Olympics in Rio.

Along with husband and mixed doubles partner Chris Adcock, she is spending the year globe trotting in a bid to pick up the ranking points needed to secure their Team GB place next summer.

Four years ago, the mixed doubles slot on the British badminton team was one of the most competitive Olympic selection races - with Adcock and former partner Imogen Bankier pitted against Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork.

In the end Adcock and Bankier, world silver medallists in 2011, earned the nod, only to lose in the first round at London 2012.

Since then the Adcocks, who married in 2013, have established themselves as the dominant force among British mixed doubles pairs, beating Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, rising to a career high fifth on the world rankings and claiming gold at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Hopes are high they could be Britain's first Olympic badminton medallists since Gail Emms and Robertson won mixed doubles silver at the 2004 Games in Athens.

And perhaps they might end an even longer wait for a British married couple to claim an Olympic title - Cyril and Dorothy Wright winning sailing gold in 1920.

"This year the schedule’s just mad, " Adcock told 

"There’s so many pairs going round chasing points which means you can’t afford to miss any tournaments. Luckily Chris and I have got ourselves in a good position, so we don’t need to go around scrambling for points and we can pick and choose our tournaments.

"We’re off to China and a few other tournaments for about four-and-a-half weeks and then we’re going to Sardinia on holiday, so I’ll be ready for a rest by the time that comes around.

"We travel together a lot but going on holiday is the only time you get excited about travelling to an airport!"

Last year the Adcocks reached the third round of the World Championships, losing to eventual bronze medallists Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin but improved on their second round defeat 12 months earlier.

However, this year's form - they lost narrowly in the last eight at the prestigious All England Championships - means they've got their sights set much higher for August's World Championships in Indonesia.

"We know we have confidence in our ability so we don’t look too far ahead but we want a medal," adds Adcock. "We’re hitting quarter finals in nearly every tournament now, which is good.

"After Commonwealths we really noticed more interest from different people, coming us to us and saying ‘well done’.

"It’s nice because Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms did so well for so long. We’re trying to do it a bit like they did and follow on from their legacy.

"I think we’re starting to do that but obviously we’re a bit younger than they were, so it’ll take a bit more time. I’m 24 and Chris has just turned 26 and badminton players can go on until about 32 or 33.

"Also European badminton players do tend to peak a bit later because the Chinese train from ten years old full time which is mad but that’s why they’re so good, so young."

Closer to home Adcock recently helped Surrey Smashers top the table in the National Badminton League, securing a home semi-final against Loughborough next month.

"Playing for Surrey Smashers has been amazing, I definitely feel like I’ve been part of one of the best teams in terms of the spirit and the support that we get," she adds.

"I think if we can inspire as many young kids as possible to pick up a racket and start playing badminton that’s a job well done and things like the National Badminton League are doing that."

By Joanna Pendleton, Sportsbeat

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