Gail Elizabeth Emms MBE (born 23 July 1977) is a retired English badminton player who has achieved international success in doubles tournaments. A badminton player since the age of four, Emms was first chosen to represent England in 1995 and regularly played for her country until her retirement from professional sport in 2008.
|Gail Emms |
|Birth name||Gail Elizabeth Emms|
|Born||23 July 1977|
Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
|Mixed & women's doubles|
|Highest ranking||1 (in XD)|
Her best results were winning gold at the 2006 World Championships in Madrid, 2004 European Championships in Geneva, and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, partnering Nathan Robertson in the mixed doubles. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester she won a bronze medal with Joanne Goode in the women's doubles and won gold as part of the England team in the mixed team event. She also took the World Badminton Grand Prix title in 2003 with Nathan Robertson. In the English National Badminton Championships she won the mixed doubles three times and the women's doubles twice.
Early life and careerEdit
Emms attended the Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford, a private girls' school. In 1998 she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science from Kingston University. After graduating Emms became a full-time professional badminton player with the help of national lottery funded grants paid to her by UK Sport. Her father owned a building firm that collapsed in the recession of the late 1980s leading to a sudden decline in the family standard of living. Her mother, Janice Emms (née Barton), played for the unofficial England women's national football team. Her parents divorced while Emms was in her early teens.
2004 Summer Olympics AthensEdit
Emms competed in badminton at the 2004 Summer Olympics in women's doubles with partner Donna Kellogg. They defeated Koon Wai Chee and Li Wing Mui of Hong Kong in the first round but were defeated by Zhao Tingting and Wei Yili of China in the second round.
She also competed in mixed doubles with Robertson. They had a bye in the first round and defeated Björn Siegemund and Nicol Pitro of Germany in the second. In the quarterfinals, Emms and Robertson beat Chen Qiqiu and Zhao Tingting of China 15–8, 17–15 to advance to the semifinals. There, they beat Jonas Rasmussen and Rikke Olsen of Denmark 15–6, 15–12. In the final, they lost to the Chinese pair Zhang Jun and Gao Ling 15–1, 12–15, 15–12 to finish with the silver medal.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games brought Emms a Silver in the team event, a Bronze in the women's doubles (with Donna Kellogg) and a Gold in the mixed doubles (with Nathan Robertson). An additional gold together with Robertson followed at the 2006 IBF World Championships.
2008 Summer Olympics, BeijingEdit
Emms then went on to win her first match in the mixed doubles with Nathan Robertson against the Chinese world number 2 pair. Emms and Robertson won the first game 21–16 before Gao Ling and her new partner Zheng Bo hit back to win the second 21–16.
The British duo found themselves 12–17 down in the decider only to recover to win 21–19.
After 2008 Emms started a portfolio career and has engaged in badminton coaching, motivational speaking, media activities, TV commentary and product endorsements. The latter includes work for SEAT cars, EVB Sports  and the UK branch of Wilson Sporting Goods. Emms has worked as a TV presenter and commentator for the BBC, Sky and BT Sport. She has delivered talks on performance, teamwork and gender issues at events held by many prominent clients including the Ashridge Business School, Sainsbury's and the Thames Valley Police.
In 2013 she was appointed to the Badminton England coaching staff with a remit to develop young female prospects and mixed doubles pairs. But loss of financial support for badminton from UK Sport in 2017 resulted in cutbacks to the coaching programmes which impacted on Emms' position. She has subsequently been critical of UK Sport's strategy in allocating funds, suggesting that its emphasis on elite level players and Olympic medal results is inappropriate.
Emms has appeared on the sports-based panel show A Question of Sport and is a regular guest on Fighting Talk. On 6 March 2014, she appeared on Sport Relief's Top Dog with her dog Raffa, a Westie. They won their heat, and went on to win the semi-final against Jenni Falconer on 20 March and the final, where they competed against Sally Gunnell.
She gave birth to her first child, Harry, in March 2010 and to her second child, Oliver, in May 2013. In 2015 she was living in Milton Keynes with her partner Ed Vince. After retiring as a badminton player in 2008 Emms has periodically suffered from depression and claims to have recurrent financial problems. She has spoken about the difficulty many professional athletes have in adjusting to life after retiring from their sport while still young.
Emms is a passionate supporter of Tottenham Hotspur. She participated in the 2017 Great North Run half marathon in order to raise money for SportsAid, finishing in a time of 1 hour and 48 minutes.
|2004||Goudi Olympic Hall, Athens, Greece||Nathan Robertson|| Zhang Jun
|1–15, 15–12, 12–15||Silver|
|2006||Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Spain||Nathan Robertson|| Anthony Clark
World University ChampionshipsEdit
|1996||Strasbourg, France||Tracey Hallam|| Tsai Hui Min
|12–15, 17–15, 11–15||Bronze|
Record against selected opponentsEdit
- Chen Qiqiu & Zhao Tingting 3–4
- Zhang Jun & Gao Ling 4–4
- Zheng Bo & Gao Ling 0–3
- He Hanbin & Yu Yang 2–1
- Xie Zhongbo & Zhang Yawen 3–3
- Jens Eriksen & Mette Schjoldager 1–2
- Joachim Fischer Nielsen & Christinna Pedersen 1–0
- Thomas Laybourn & Kamilla Rytter Juhl 4–3
- Jonas Rasmussen & Rikke Olsen 4–1
- Michael Søgaard & Rikke Olsen 3–1
- Simon Archer & Joanne Goode 1–0
- Anthony Clark & Donna Kellogg 3–1
- Flandy Limpele & Vita Marissa 2–1
- Nova Widianto & Vita Marissa 2–3
- Nova Widianto & Lilyana Natsir 4–5
- Kim Dong-moon & Ra Kyung-min 0–5
- Lee Yong-dae & Lee Hyo-jung 1–2
- Robert Mateusiak & Nadiezda Zieba 2–1
- Frederik Bergström & Johanna Persson 1–0
- Sudket Prapakamol & Saralee Thoungthongkam 6–2
- Kingston University alumni profiles
- Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2017 a hobby sport
- Women's Sport Trust Gail Emms
- "Emms to quit after Beijing Games". BBC Sport. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
- EVB Sports Ambassadors
- Emms official website Services
- D&D promotional website
- Daily Telegraph 22 October 2013, 'Sport in Brief'
- Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2017 a hobby sport
- "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 16.
- Daily Mirror 21 March 2015 Olympic hero Gail Emms on depression
- The Guardian, 10 October 2017 I lost my identity in badminton
- Gail Emms (20 November 2010). "Passions Gail Emms Tottenham Hotspur". The Times. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- The Great Run Company website
- Tournament results