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Badminton All England 2010: Nathan Robertson rues sport's wasted opportunities

Nathan Robertson has urged British badminton not to waste any more opportunities to sell the sport to the country.

Robertson and the now retired Gail Emms are still badminton's only household names in Britain six years after winning Olympic silver together in Athens.

That success gave the sport's profile a huge lift but Robertson feels a big chance was missed to boost participation levels and develop a new generation of stars.

The 32-year-old has taken part in an outlandish photoshoot with fellow professionals - who pose in some quirky outfits or covered in bodypaint - in an attempt to raise awareness ahead of this week's All England Championships in Birmingham, but he does not want it to stop there.

"I think we have missed opportunities after Olympic medals and world titles," said Robertson.

"We need to be getting the kids along to see more live action and we have to try to get the best players playing more in England.

"There are only one or two events a year where people can come to watch their badminton heroes - the All England is one and the National Championships another, although this year we have the European individual championships in Manchester as well.

"I think the opportunities were there to try to set something up and get more top-class badminton around the country.

"I think we really do need a national club championships for the kids to follow and get involved in that way.

"If people can see that at the top level they get into it, but we can't really look back now. We have to look forward and try to make the most

Robertson returns to the All England this week after being forced to miss last year's event through illness.

He plays in the men's doubles with fellow veteran Anthony Clark - with whom he won the national title last month - and new mixed doubles partner Jenny Wallwork.

The qualifying rounds at the National Indoor Arena begin today with the competition proper starting tomorrow.

China won titles in all five disciplines last year and their challenge will again be spearheaded by men's champion Lin Dan, who is bidding for his fifth win in seven years.


Source from Telegraph.co.uk












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