OLYMPIC silver medallist Gail Emms believes Mansfield badminton star Chris Adcock and London 2012 partner Imogen Bankier could be the new ‘Emms and Robertson’ and bring home a medal.
Adcock and Bankier had their London Games spot confirmed last month after finishing the Olympic qualification period ranked 10th in the world – seven places ahead of Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork.
The mixed double pair will represent Team GB in front of a packed home crowd at the Wembley Arena at the beginning of August in their Olympic debut.
Badminton legend Emms, who won silver at Athens 2004 with Robertson in the same event, believes their underdog status can lead them to glory in the same way she and Robertson did eight years ago.
“They could be the new ‘Emms and Robertson’. I am very excited about seeing how they get on,” said the 2006 mixed doubles world champion.
“They have great chemistry together like we did, although we were in our late 20s when we made our Olympic debut and they are in their early 20s, but that should benefit them.
“Chris is really quick and fast around the back of the court and Imogen is very strong and can get them out of trouble. They have different styles which also helps.
“They have got to work really hard and be consistent. Chris has got the ability to win a medal and I am not ruling it out, although I wouldn’t put money of it. It is a hard one to call.
“He can win a medal because you never know what is going to happen. Sometimes the favourites don’t perform and the underdog can come through.
“We have the next generation coming through and Chris is a bright star. Being young won’t hamper his progress; it won’t be a factor at all.
“Some people relish pressure and some people hate it, but Chris is definitely someone who relishes it.”
Adcock and Bankier proved as much last year when winning an unlikely silver at last year’s World Championships in London, knocking out the second seeds in a straight sets semi-final victory before succumbing to the world number ones.
But Adcock and Bankier vanquished them in a re-match earlier this year, leaving Emms impressed by the progress the 23-year-old has made.
“If you had asked me a year ago if I thought he would be in the Olympic team I would have said probably not because I had him ranked as third,” said Emms.
“I think he has surprised everyone, but he has always had the potential to be a good mixed doubles player. His performances have been amazing and I am very proud of him.
“All the attention has been on Nathan Robertson but he has gone out there under the radar and really knuckled down. He deserves his spot at London.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week took place from 25-29 June 2012 and is Britain’s biggest school sport event with more than four million pupils staging their own Games this year. Find out more at lloydstsb.com/london2012