December 9 - Gail Emms (pictured), Britain's most successful ever female badminton player, is backing the country’s young guns to make a big impression at the Yonex European Individual Badminton Championships in Manchester in April.
She predicted the new crop of talent will help England fulfil their ambition of becoming the best badminton nation in the world and be successful at the London 2012 Olympics.
Emms has earmarked the likes of Gabby White, Jenny Wallwork, Rajiv Ouseph and Chris Adcock to make their mark on the international stage and surpass the highs of her own career, which included winning an Olympic silver medal at the Athens 2004 Games in the mixed doubles with partner Nathan Robertson and then lifting the world title in 2006.
Emms, speaking at an event to publicise the tickets for the European Championships, which takes place at the M.E.N Arena Manchester between April 14 and 18, going on sale to the public, claimed the abilities of the younger generation of stars demonstrates a new strength-in-depth within Team England.
She said; "Gabby and Jenny have all the hallmarks required to beat the very best players from across the world so it's not difficult to get excited about our future prospects.
"Jenny has taken over from me playing with Nathan and I know they have set their sights on success over the next couple of years and I think they have every chance of achieving it.
"We have some great young players in the squad who are already producing impressive results internationally so the future bodes well.
“With the chance of competing in the Olympics in front of home crowds, the players won’t need any greater inspiration to go onto be the best in the world and I believe that we have the talent and right structure to achieve these ambitions.
"Since retiring I’ve been working with some of the younger players to try and pass on some of my experience and knowledge and having worked at close quarters with these players I’m confident that we are capable of achieving some special results."
To promote the ticket launch for the European Championships, White and Adcock (pictured) played a series of exhibition matches with members of the public in Manchester’s Triangle Shopping Centre, with those skillful enough to win a rally securing tickets to the Championships.
With the Championships boasting a strong legacy scheme to encourage more school children in Manchester to take up the sport, youngsters from Blackley Badminton Club, Manchester took on kids from St. Margaret’s School in Aigburth, Liverpool - the city also enjoying a strong legacy scheme having staged the European Team Championships earlier this year - in a series of special games before getting to meet England players.
Tickets for the European Championships, which are set to feature many of Europe’s top players, are available by calling Ticketmaster on 0844-8478000 or clicking here.
December 2009: Yonex to sponsor European Championships in Manchester