Badminton Life

Emms carries a flame for the Olympics

One of the most symbolic sporting events is the carrying of the Olympic flame and when the rite of passage reaches Britain, there will be a badminton player helping to keep the noble tradition alive.

Gail Emms, an Olympic silver medallist, has been selected to carry the torch for part of its journey through the streets of London when the worldwide relay procession hits England's capital. There will be some significance of the flame passing through London as the city is currently undergoing much redevelopment as it prepares to host the 2012 games.

This prestigious accolade has been a welcome boost to Emms as the player has not had the best of luck in 2008 with injury and illness forcing her to miss out on same major events but in recent weeks, the player has regained some confidence and fitness which will hopefully propel her onto glory when the Olympic Games take place in Beijing.

Part of the reason for Emms selection is definitely due to her position as a badminton national hero when she and partner Nathan Robertson clinched a podium placing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. There are 80 people who are taking part in the Olympic torch relay in England but when you consider the amount of potential candidates who could have been selected for the role; it is certainly a compliment to Emms and the way he has helped to raise awareness of the sport in Britain. Emms has been a regular contributor to the BBC Sports website and her columns and comments have assisted in bringing badminton to a more prominent level with UK sports fans.

The high regard that Emms is held in when the other carriers of the flame are considered as there are a considerable amount of UK sporting heroes taking part in the relay, shows the level of respect that has been afforded to her and badminton in general. A great number of former Olympic Gold medallists will be taking place and these include Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Tessa Sanderson Ed Goode and Duncan Goodhew, as well as many other sporting stars such as Kevin Pietersen, Tim Henman and Ellen Macrthur.

The Olympic Torch relay is an important part in the build-up to the event and the torch will pass through 22 cities in 5 continents, as well as appearing in every province in China before the flames returns to Beijing in time for the commencement of the Games which are scheduled to start on the 8th of August.

Returning to Emms, the player is said to be delighted and privileged to be taking part in the event and is no doubt hoping that this accolade can act as the final spur for her and Robertson to again grab the glory at the Olympics and return home with a podium placing, with the Olympic Gold being the ultimate dream for the duo.

The Olympic Torch relay manages to capture the interest and imagination of more than just sports fans so it can only be hoped that the inclusion of Emms may lead to a further increase in the awareness of badminton in the UK.

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