London 2012 - Emms warns Robertson over form
Former partner Gail Emms has warned Nathan Robertson he needs to make sure every minute counts this year if he’s to land an unexpected podium berth at London 2012.
Emms called time on her badminton career after the Beijing Games in 2008 and as yet Robertson, 34, and new partner Jenny Wallwork, have struggled to live up to their impressive collective CV, which included Olympic silver at Athens.
The relationship threatened to blossom last year with the pair claiming Commonwealth Games mixed doubles silver but with the duo needing to a top-12 world ranking to book their 2012 spot some hard yards still await.
The pair had an encouraging start to their pursuit of the world’s top dozen by reaching the semi-finals of the Singapore Open earlier this month – the first qualifying event for 2012.
And while encouraged herself by their performance in the Lion City Emms believes the duo need to pull out all the stops now if they’re to be roaring at London 2012.
“It’s been good to see that Nathan and Jenny had a good start to the season at the Singapore Open,” said Emms – speaking at Heaton Manor School in Newcastle as they celebrated Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, an event which will involve four million children across Britain.
“It was the first tournament in the Olympic qualification period and so for them to start by getting to the semi-final was fantastic.
“Olympic qualification is a long road and something that takes in a lot of tournaments and things so it is obviously not secured yet but it was a good start.
“They had a good draw in Singapore and they took advantage of it which is great but they need to keep working on that now because to me the qualification for 2012 is so important.
“They need to be in the top 12 in the world to qualify but I think it is important that they are comfortably in the top 12.
“They don’t want to be scraping into it in maybe 11th or 12th I think it’s important for them to be as high as they can.
“I think that will mean that Jenny and Nathan will then arrive at the Olympics in a really positive state of mind and that will then mean they approach the Games themselves in a really positive light.”
And while admitting there is some work ahead for Wallwork to get herself up to Olympic medal-challenging standard Emms believes for Robertson it is more a case of having what he holds.
“I think to qualify well they need to make sure that Nathan stays at the level he is at while Jenny needs to improve a little bit and then if they can both find a little bit more consistency as a pair then they can definitely qualify for the Games and then go there and do well,” added Emms.
“At the Athens Olympics and then at Beijing Nathan and I qualified in fourth and then in fifth and that meant we arrived at the Games confident that we could get ourselves a medal.”