Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Emms to be BADMINTON England’s first Ambassador

GAIL EMMS is back. England’s Team GB Olympic star, who retired after the Beijing Games, today reached agreement with BADMINTON England to be their first Ambassador for the sport.

The 2004 Olympic mixed doubles silver medalist and 2006 World and Commonwealth Champion (with Nathan Robertson) will start her new role immediately.

And one of her key tasks at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes will be to act as a mentor with some of the high-potential players aiming for success at London 2012.

BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy said: “We couldn’t let Gail just slip away quietly after everything she has done for badminton. She has not only achieved unprecedented success for herself but has also raised the sport’s profile like never before.

“It goes without saying what a fantastic role model Gail is for all the young players coming through and her role with BADMINTON England will provide the opportunity for her to pass on so much.”

Emms, 31, who represented England 68 times following her debut in1995, said: “After what badminton has done for me, this is now a great opportunity to give something back to the sport. We have some real talent coming through and I am looking forward to working with the players who can hopefully build on the success that came my way.

“I’ve had a few months to relax and reflect on my playing career and I am now refreshed and ready for this new and exciting challenge. I’m not here to coach but to inspire and motivate and I hope I can play my part in getting people involved in badminton at all levels.

“We have big opportunities to showcase the sport and BADMINTON England over the next three years in the countdown to London 2012. It’s an opportunity not to be wasted – I can’t wait to get started.”

The new role is not just aimed at the Elite end of the sport; a major part of the work is geared to grass roots. “Gail already does a lot of work in schools and I want to build on this by getting her close to our clubs” said Christy. “In that way she can help the development of the game across the country generally but specifically at our new Performance Centres.

“As our first Badminton Ambassador, she will be a spokesperson for the sport and play a key role in building the BADMINTON England brand and generating wider media interest in us and our activities.

“We have worked very hard to increase the number of people playing our sport and there is a lot more still to be done. We are far more than simply an Elite Olympic sport but a game that can be enjoyed by all age groups - from school and junior level, right through the club and grass-roots level, and on to Veterans. Gail has a big part to play in helping us achieve our ambitions.”