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Thread: Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg:
07-30-2008, 10:26 PM #1
Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg:
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg: The Chinese will boo us. We want to silence them
Having won the European badminton title, Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg are confident of tackling hostile crowds and a tough draw in Beijing.
So there they were, this year's European badminton champions, looking forward to the Beijing Olympics with a buoyant optimism at the British team's get-together in Chinatown. And such was the look on the faces of Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg, who have outperformed the 2004 Athens silver medallists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms throughout the season, that you could not but believe in their confidence. It was just – well, Clark was wearing what looked like a surgical boot.
Swiftly, Andy Allford, of the English Institute of Sport, offered reassurance. It was not a surgical boot. It was an air cast. Clark was not injured. He was managing a problem – plantar fasciitis, to give it its proper name – which was often exacerbated by having to play on some of the less forgiving, unsprung surfaces he and his partner are required to tread in the never-ending travelogue that is world badminton.
"We know Anthony has a problem with his foot," Allford said. "So we know we need to monitor him very closely. The best form of dealing with the problem is to put him in what we call an air cast until he needs to get back into competition. The more we can take weight off his feet the better it is for him."
This down-to-earth, 30-year-old from Derby is not a man who spends a lot of time idle. The same is true for his 31-year-old partner, for whom Beijing will be her third Olympics. "There's no time to chill out," Kellogg said. "With all the travel to Asia required, badminton is a 12-months-a-year sport." The pair's travels this year, however, have proved hugely fruitful as they have made the most of the problems their more famous domestic rivals have endured in the wake of a troubling ankle injury to Robertson which required an operation.
Having already secured the European title, the Clark/Kellogg combo was already eyeing the Singapore Open three weeks ahead. "Anthony will be fine for that," Allford insisted. He was right. The British pairing got to the final of the last major tournament they will play before Beijing, beating the No 2 Chinese pairing of Zheng Bo and Gao Ling en route, but eventually having to give best to the top seeds and double world champions Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia, who beat them 17-21, 21-14, 21-9.
As Beijing looms, Clark and Kellogg are looking good. Which is probably just as well given the level of expectation upon them and the peculiar challenge they will face in Beijing.
"We are still chasing that elusive gold medal at the Olympics that I know everyone in the team is focused on," said Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association. "Badminton is exactly one of those sports where we need to be stepping up to the plate if we are to achieve our target of fourth place at the London 2012 Games." So no pressure there then for Clark and Kellogg, Robertson and Emms...
"This will be the first time since the event became part of the Olympics in 1992 that the sport is being played in a major badminton nation," said Ian Wright, British badminton's head coach. "China are clearly the No 1 badminton nation. But if we get on the medal podium, it really puts us in a great position for London 2012 because we have a lot of young talent coming through."
Happily, Clark and Kellogg are well used to the challenge of competing in the host nation, having played frequently in the China Open. "That experience will be a big help to us," Clark said. "Beijing is an unbelievable place, but even getting around from A to B there can be exhausting. If you are not used to having to deal with that every day, it can throw you off a little bit." The crowds, Kellogg vouchsafes, are as passionate as football crowds in England. "The arenas are always packed out there and we know the spectators are going to be booing us," she said. "But when we hear people booing we want to go out and make them quiet.
"Anthony and I have played together for a long time now, and know each other inside out, and also get on well off the court which helps us to support each other in the game. Winning the Europeans was a massive confidence boost for us and we have beaten some of the top pairs in the world in recent months, so, as long as we stay injury free, I think we have a very good chance.
"We claimed the silver at the worlds in 2006. Two years down the line we have more experience and know what to expect." Like Emms and Robertson, Clark and Kellogg train at the national badminton centre in Milton Keynes. It is a mutually supportive relationship most of the time, and interwoven with cross-threads of comradeship given that the women are doubles partners, and the men have been in the past.
"Nathan and I have trained together since we were 12," Clark said. "Gail and Donna have roomed together at tournaments. It's great to have a pair like that to train with. We are not in a sport where we can make millions, but we try to do the best we can. I've got a wife and two children, but we earn a decent living because the success we have had means we are well supported by Lottery funding."
Such is the challenge of the host nation, and Indonesia, that the British pairings will face a steep gradient if they want to reach the final. Having taken silver last time, Emms and Robertson vowed to go one better this year, but the problems Robertson has had have made that task an even bigger ask than it appeared back in Athens.
With only four seeded pairs in the draw of 16, chance may play a big part in the progress of the British pairings. It is unlikely that they will both manage to reach the final, as they did in the World Championships two years ago, when Robertson and Emms prevailed. But it is not inconceivable.
"We could find ourselves facing one of the top two teams in the first round," Kellogg admitted. "Then again, we've beaten all the top people in the world. We need to win four matches to win Olympic gold. It's the same for everyone.
"An all-British final happened in Madrid two years ago. Unfortunately we lost in that final, but it would be a dream come true for British badminton if we could both make it to the final in Beijing. Obviously we would be looking for a different result." Clark was drawing encouragement from the two pairs' recent meetings. "We've beaten Nathan and Gail the last two times we've played them," he said. "And we are going to go into these Games fitter and stronger than in the past.
"There will be a lot more pressure on the Chinese players to perform, but they can fall. You just have to be mentally strong against them and eventually they will break."
Dreams of world domination come to life in Milton Keynes
No one could accuse Badminton England of lacking in ambition. Two years ago the organisation drew up a document entited "The 100 point plan – a decade of delivery" that sets out a detailed approach to developing the sport to the point where, in its own words, England will be "the No 1 playing nation in the world by 2016."
The headquarters for this mission of world domination is Milton Keynes, venue of the National Badminton Centre, where for the last eight years National Lottery funding has enabled a cadre of elite players to operate full-time in pursuit of glories to top those already achieved. Under the direction of head coach, Ian Wright, the centre has become something of a League of Nations as additional coaches have been recruited from Korea, Indonesia and China.
At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, eight years after badminton became part of the Games, British pairing Simon Archer and Joanne Goode won bronze. Four years later in Athens, Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms went one better, adding the All England title in 2005 and the world title in 2006. The latter triumph came at the expense of fellow Brits Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg, who have been the dominant pair so far in Olympic year as Robertson has recovered from an ankle injury. Clark and Kellogg won the European title, and, in their last event before the Games, got to the Singapore Open final, beating the second seeded Chinese pair en route. As well as having the two mixed doubles pairs in Beijing, Britain will also be represented by Commonwealth champion Tracey Hallam, a quarter-finalist in Athens, and newcomer Andrew Smith.
Four years down the line in London, there will be high hopes for 22-year-old Rajiv Ouseph, No2 in the domestic rankings.
Doubles details: Kellogg and Clark records
Date of Birth: 20 January 1978
Place of Birth: Derby
Playing style: Right-handed
Height: 5ft 8in
Date of Birth: 1 November 1977
Place of Birth: Derby
Playing style: Left-handed
Height: 5ft 8in
Current world ranking: 7th
Highest World Ranking: 5th
Winners Denmark Open 2006
Runners Up 2006 BWF World Championships
Winners 2007 English National Championships
Runners up All England Open 2007
Runners up 2008 Swiss Open
Winners 08 European Championships
Last edited by Loh; 07-30-2008 at 10:33 PM.
07-31-2008, 05:10 AM #2
good...silence the chinese fans...^^...
07-31-2008, 08:03 AM #3
oho, i didn't realise they are both from derby.
i'm not sure they'll do too well this time around though, competition is fierce.
08-01-2008, 11:09 AM #4
Nathan and Gail warm up at team GB macau training camp before the OG
Last edited by jamesd20; 08-01-2008 at 08:26 PM.
08-01-2008, 11:23 AM #5
^^I assume, those must be..^^
..for this yr's version, cooler??....if so, maybe kwun/mods may want to re-locate those to this yr's OG sub-forum?..
08-01-2008, 11:29 AM #6
08-02-2008, 02:16 AM #7
08-02-2008, 03:52 AM #8
i think anthony and donna is overly pessimistic on chinese fans.
To spend $40+ billion to showcase china to the world and boo foreign teams? i highly doubt it. Secondly, china's new protocol for fans, like it or not, are:
-no group booing or chanting or cheering
-no interest group wearing same color or patterned outer wear
08-02-2008, 06:47 AM #9
Some pics of Andy & Donna during their Singapore Open 2008 SF victory against CHN top XD pair:
08-02-2008, 07:05 AM #10
And some pics of their Final defeat in the hands of the INA top pair:
08-02-2008, 08:52 AM #11
I agree I would be amazed if Chinese fans booed any opposition.
This close to a major championship though psychology comes strongly into it though, they may be saying this to expect the worst and then feel comfortable when they have a placid crowd.
Robertson I think is also playing a pschology game, stating he has never been fitter and never been playing as well.
08-02-2008, 09:38 AM #12
more photos of their training ahead of the OG08.
REUTERS/Phil Noble (CHINA) (BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 PREVIEW
08-02-2008, 09:40 AM #13
REUTERS/Phil Noble (CHINA) (BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 PREVIEW)
08-02-2008, 09:40 AM #14
08-02-2008, 09:52 AM #15
i just realise that this thread had been move to here..
08-02-2008, 10:47 AM #16
I think this rule is a bit too much...dont you guys think?
08-02-2008, 10:50 AM #17
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