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Thread: Tribute to Gail Emms
08-14-2008, 08:21 PM #1
Tribute to Gail Emms
can't believe she is retiring
i was hoping she could stay until next year's World Championship and the commonwealth games.
Well i guess she deserve a long rest after more than 10 years of playing.
Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson contemplate the end of their career together
TEARIO .. Gail Emms bows out
Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson bow out amid a sea of tears
We said goodbye to the Torvill and Dean of badminton yesterday. And just as your interest in figure skating has probably not been the same since the Bolero, it may be a long wait for the next Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson, a pair who have done so much for their sport with skill and charisma.
A comprehensive quarter-final defeat by the South Korea pair of Lee Hyo Jung and Lee Yong Dae brought retirement for Emms, who sobbed through a succession of post-match interviews.
If we are honest, she had a stinker in the 21-19, 21-12 loss, but her playful sense of humour still managed to peep through the misery. “Is it true you are now going to start a family?” she was asked. She looked around the packed hall, to the stands where her boyfriend was sitting. “What,” she said, “in here?”
She leaves Robertson weighing up whether to soldier on until London 2012, but he looked, and spoke, a bit like a man who has lost his true love and wonders if any relationship will ever be as good. As a mixed doubles pairing, they had been together for seven years, longer than many marriages.
In the end, their silver medal in Athens four years ago was as good as it got for a couple who became popular beyond their sport not only because they were among the best in the world, but also because they seemed so happy in each other's company. Television liked them and, for a while post-Athens, they were rarely off our screens.
With its long rallies, and changes of speed from feathery drop shots to 200mph smashes, badminton can be among the most thrilling of Olympic events. But at 31, Emms has had enough of a sport that has given her a decent living, if hardly a lucrative one.
She had decided that she would stop whatever the outcome in Beijing. “We won a World Championship, Europeans and silver at Athens in the Olympics,” she said. “I am so proud of what we achieved, of representing my country, being an Olympian. I've loved every second of it.”
It all came to an end in a university gym in China with a roof designed like a shuttlecock. A forehand from Robertson dropped tamely wide and he wandered over to wrap a long arm around his partner. Not long after came the river of tears.
They had played with the crowd on their side, including the Princess Royal, but never looked comfortable against the Koreans. Down 20-15 in the first game, they rallied back to 20-19, but there was to be no reprise of their heroics against Gao Ling and Zheng Bo, the Chinese favourites, in the previous round.
Perhaps their only hope was when Lee Hyo Jung, the female Korean, who was more than six inches taller than Emms, landed in a heap on the side of the court. “I was thinking, 'Please don't get up,' ” Emms said, caught between laughing and weeping. The Britain pair were briefly ahead in the second game at 10-8, but lost 11 of the next 12 points. The Koreans had learnt to target Emms, who made a succession of unforced errors, perhaps as it dawned upon her that these were to be the last minutes of her professional career.
Robertson later speculated about the legality of their female opponent's serve - delivered above the waist, allegedly - but neither Briton could dispute that they were comprehensively outplayed. “It's gutting because I know we can play better,” Emms said. “I wanted to go out on a high. I didn't want to go out like this.”
Whether Robertson, also 31, chooses to continue, and with whom, will be revealed in the next couple of months, but, if there is a fresh wave of medal prospects in his sport, they did not show themselves in Beijing. All Britain's competitors have been knocked out.
“Nathan is an amazing talent,” Emms said. “He is the Roger Federer of badminton, he is so naturally gifted. And he can help bring up the next generation.”
Robertson had reason to curse his partner's contribution yesterday, but when he said he would sorely miss her, he meant it.
“My mum, dad, stepdad and boyfriend were all out there and I feel so sorry for them.”
Then she broke down again. All she could now say was: “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
08-14-2008, 11:20 PM #2
bye bye gail
wish her all the best for the future!
08-14-2008, 11:30 PM #3
Hope she will get into coaching though, nurture young talents in England
08-15-2008, 12:00 AM #4
hope to see more of her in badminton...maybe coaching....well...let's wait and see who'll take over...maybe adcock and white...
08-15-2008, 12:01 AM #5
I really dispute this Roger Federer of badminton thing............Federer has been No. 1 almost as long as anyone and won countless titles and is the 2nd best winner of majors....and is very gracious in defeat and a great ambassador for the sport.
Robertson on the other hand hasn't won many titles at all. yes they have got WC, AE & RU in OG, but aprt from that their SS & Grand prix results are poor at best. They have been number 1, but only for a few weeks in between others.
I can see no comparison whatsoever.
08-15-2008, 12:47 AM #6
08-15-2008, 12:55 AM #7
08-15-2008, 02:05 AM #8
Oh yea Jennifer Wallwork, the best young player in England so far i think.
What ever happened to Heather Olver and Eleanor Cox?
are you a player back in Uk james?
Last edited by metalmon1188; 08-15-2008 at 02:09 AM.
08-15-2008, 02:39 AM #9
08-15-2008, 03:41 AM #10
Federer was taken out by Blake today...err yesterday, huh? Looks like these days, anyone on the ATP can beat Federer if they try,
08-15-2008, 03:45 AM #11
08-15-2008, 03:46 AM #12
08-15-2008, 04:06 AM #13
I just found this link, where Gail has ben writing on BBC for a while.
And the entry on her (international) retirement:
Getting used to being a lady of leisureGail Emms 15 Aug 08, 07:24 AM
It's few hours after our quarter-final defeat to Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae of South Korea and I'm obviously still gutted about losing, but then you've got to feel proud of yourself because the pair that we played were awesome and we couldn't have done any more.
They were quicker, more consistent, had a great game plan and didn't let us into the game.
And then of course you've got all the emotions about the Olympics, because you want to do the country really proud and you want to get medals, and also the fact it's probably my last match.
When we saw the draw, we knew that it was going be very, very hard. We faced the Chinese second seeds in the first round having never beaten them before - Gao Ling was part of the pair who beat us in the Athens final - and we had the whole crowd against us.
With all those things, it was such an emotional match that we had to be so pumped up and so in their faces.
But in the second round, we were playing a different pair with a different style of play - the Koreans were one of the best unseeded pairs in the tournament, we'd beaten them but also lost to them in the past, and we knew it was more about skill and agility, rather than a match settled by rallies and fitness and pure guts.
I've had about 63 texts on my mobile, and plenty of Facebook messages and e-mails saying "good luck" and "well done".
It's such a nice feeling knowing people back home are supporting you and cheering you on, telling you they've been screaming at the TV! When you hear messages like that, you just think it makes it all worthwhile.
The Murray brothers also came to watch and support us - we've got to know them quite a bit because we're next-door neighbours in the flats.
On the bus back, I was really upset but I ended up sat next to Andy and it was so nice to chat randomly about other stuff, and then we all went for a cup of tea and some food in the dining hall.
Being around other people really helps, because if it had been just Nathan, myself and the badminton coaches, we might have just ended up banging our heads on the tables!
But now I will be donning my pom-poms because I am chief cheerleader for Team GB!
I'm going to give my support to everyone, because I know how much it means to them and you can feel their passion about being here. When Rebecca Adlington won her gold, all the other swimmers were so happy for her, so if I can help in any way then I'll do that.
As for my career, I've got to make a decision over the next few weeks and see how I feel when I get home. I'm playing in the Danish league next season, which starts in September, but I'm pretty certain that was my last tournament.
I really can't see myself playing at London 2012 - it's another four years of commitment, travelling the world, getting all the qualifying points with your partner.
I'd still like to be involved somehow, though, being such a passionate fan of the Olympics, so maybe I could be an ambassador. I want to try different things out, maybe even getting into the commentary box - but the problem would be getting me to shut up!
I don't expect life after badminton to be easy - I've spoken to ex-athletes and ex- badminton players, and it'll probably be very strange.
I've signed up for the London Marathon so at least I've got a goal and something to keep me fit - that way I won't start eating all the pies!
I've got to have new challenges and it'll be nice not to have to think about training every day - as an athlete, you sacrifice so much and you miss out on so many things.
I'd like to see more of my friends and my family and my little dog Rafa. If I want to go skiing, I can, so I'll be able to enjoy that and that'll help ease the pain that I'm not playing badminton any more. In other words, I'm a lady of leisure now!
08-15-2008, 04:07 AM #14
Maybe Gill Clark should watch her back!
08-15-2008, 09:45 AM #15
emms has made that weird federer comparison before--I think it was in 'world of badminton'? It was weird then and it's weird now.
as for commentary, I think emms could be quite an interesting addition. Certainly I feel British badminton commentary could do with some fresh blood. I like gillian clark but her comments are too predictable. Where is morten frost??!
08-15-2008, 10:10 PM #16
Bye Emms. I'm sure you'll be missed.
08-16-2008, 12:52 AM #17
gail should be a fun commentator given her personality....where's gill clark?? haven't heard her commentate for a long time...I know she's in beijing but haven't heard much of her....plus that john guy...the one that gets really excited when LCW plays....he's commentating on table tennis...morten frost and gill clark is a good combo..
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