Olympic hopefuls target home-turf championship

Gabrielle Adcock and Chris Adcock
Gabrielle Adcock and Chris Adcock
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THE countdown to the 2016 Rio Olympics may have started for Leeds’ Gabby Adcock, but for the moment the badminton star is turning her attentions to the YONEX All England Championships in March.

Ranked No.6 in the world alongside her doubles partner and husband Chris, Adcock is determined to follow in the footsteps of England’s last great badminton pairing Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson. Ten years ago Emms and Robertson became the last English pairing to win an All England crown, while 12 months earlier they had also claimed unlikely Olympic silver at the Athens Games.

Chris and Gabby Adcock seem to be taking sizeable strides in the right direction – last summer they claimed Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow. And as they prepare to lock horns with the world’s best players in Birmingham at March’s All England – the first BWF Superseries Premier event of 2015, and one of the sport’s majors – Adcock is in confident mood: “Obviously getting to Rio and the Olympic Games is our ultimate aim but I don’t think it’s all geared towards that and what we can achieve in Brazil.

“But at the moment it still feels like it’s at the back our minds because we have so many short-term steps we need to make and things we want to achieve. We’ve got a European Championship and the All England so there’s lots to come and things we want to peak for before Rio. The qualification for Rio starts in May but at the minute we’re still training up to be the best we can be. We have been on the scene for a while but I wouldn’t say we were veterans just yet, we call ourselves experienced. We are still really young, I came down to Milton Keynes full-time when I was 16 but it’s a lot of hard work to get to this point. To get to six in the world you have to drive yourself day-in day-out but I feel like we are very experienced as a pair and we’ve been through a lot. We’ve been in a lot of different situations and I feel like we have got another 10 years in us but we want to achieve a lot more in that time.”

Despite their Glasgow Commonwealth Games triumph now being a distant memory, Adcock still looks back fondly on a defining summer of her career to-date. She may now have eyes on repeating the trick in Rio – but Adcock insists her Glasgow memories will live long in her thoughts.

“We wanted to go and win the Commonwealths and we didn’t really think about what the reaction to the performances would be,” she added. “You’re just wondering if you are going to win it in the first place but then after we won it we had a really amazing reaction. That was the highlight of our career so far.

“If we can inspire some kids who saw Glasgow to go on in the future and be part of the sport that would be amazing.

“It was a little bit surprising to us and they managed to fill out the arena a lot of days but it was definitely a nice surprise.”

Tickets for the YONEX All England 2015 at the stunning new Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham are available at allenglandbadminton.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 444 9994.

Paul Heckingbottom.

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