Pressure is on them, says Olympian Emms

ATHENS silver medallists Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson say the pressure is all on their Chinese opponents in the opening round of the mixed doubles competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The Team GB pair won Britain s first badminton silver medal

ATHENS silver medallists Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson say the pressure is all on their Chinese opponents in the opening round of the mixed doubles competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The Team GB pair won Britain's first badminton silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games four years ago - following the bronze won by Simon Archer and Tewin's Jo Goode at Sydney 2000.

But the unseeded British partnership have drawn the number two seeds, China's Zheng Bo and Gao Ling, in the opening round of the competition in Beijing.

Gao Ling is one half of the partnership that beat Herts county player Emms and Robertson to win gold at Athens 2004.


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The Chinese pairing beat the Brits four times last year.

But Hitchin-born Emms and Robertson say they're not fazed by the challenge.

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Emms said: "It's a bad draw for them.

"They're at their home Olympic Games and in their home country, so the pressure and the expectations are all on them."

She added: "We knew we were going to face a tough pair because we're not seeded.

"They know they'll have to work very hard to beat us.

"We're feeling confident and I'm really, really looking forward to it.

"We've won the Worlds, the Commonwealths and the Europeans, the only thing missing is the Olympic gold.

"I feel this is the best chance we've got to do that."

Emms is set to retire after Beijing. She said: "The Olympic Games is the greatest sporting event in the world.

"It's an honour to be here. I can't wait to get out there and compete for Team GB."

Robertson added: "It's a worse draw for them than it is for us.

"We've missed a few tournaments so we knew we wouldn't be seeded in the top four.

"I'm sure none of the top four wanted to be drawn against us.

"We know they're the top Chinese pair, but we don't need any more motivation to beat them.

"They're one of the best pairs in the world.

"Our aim is to go for gold and to get gold we'd expect to play them somewhere along the line. The draw won't get any easier.

"It doesn't get any better than playing the top Chinese pair at their home Olympic Games.

"We've just got to try to turn them over."

Meanwhile, if they get over that hurdle, Emms and Robertson know who they would like to meet in the final - the fellow British pair of Donna Kellogg and Anthony Clark.

Emms said: "We'd like to play them, but it would be in the final if we did.

"That would be a brilliant advertisement for British badminton. There's a long way to go before that."

Meanwhile, Kellogg and Clark also have a tough opening round draw against another Chinese pair - the number four seeds He Hanbin and Yu Zang.

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