Badminton Life

England Players Make Up Great Britain Squad

It may be a Great British team in name but in reality, it will be the England badminton team that represents all of Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Given the population size of England, the amount of funding the country receives in comparison to the other nations and the desire to win events this is no surprise but it is a slightly poor show. Scotland and Wales have seen some tremendous performances in the past year at badminton but there is very little scope for their players to be motivated as the English will always take the top places.

However, none of this is the fault of the English players who have been selected and the hopes of British badminton fans are definitely resting on strong shoulders. The six places have been allocated to Andrew Smith, Tracey Hallam, Nathan Robertson, Gail Emms, Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg.

Smith will be competing in the Men's Singles events whereas Hallam will be the Great Britain representative in the Women's Singles tournament. There are two teams competing in the Mixed Doubles where Robertson and Emms will appear as one team whilst Clark and Kellogg will be the other team.

Emms and Kellogg will also be appearing in the Ladies Doubles event. There is a strong amount of quality and experience within this squad and with Olympic medals already having been won by some of the members; it will be made clear to the players what is required to win at such a prestigious event.

Donna Kellogg and Nathan Robertson will both be appearing at the Olympics for the third time, which is no mean feat and they will be offering plenty of advice to Andrew Smith. For Smith, the Beijing games will be his first Olympiad and will naturally be keen to settle his nerves as quickly as possible.

English badminton fans also received a boost when Gail Emms slightly retracted her decision to retire after the Olympics. Emms has insisted that this summer's tournament will be her last major sporting event but has now said that she may decide to play on for another year. Given the injury problems that have beset her this year, there has been debate over whether Emms would be able to play top level badminton for any great length of time but the fact that she is considering another year must indicate she feels she has enough left in the tank to continue.

The other good news for Emms is that her Mixed Doubles partner Nathan Robertson appears to have recovered well from surgery on his troublesome ankle. Robertson did well to play through the qualifying year with the injury but with the importance of the event, the decision was taken to rectify it before Beijing and the pair is determined to improve on their silver medal finish in Athens 2004.

It may be an all English team but there is no doubt that badminton fans all across Great Britain will be firmly behind the team when the action starts in Beijing.

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