2011 All News
Clark calls time on England career
ANTHONY CLARK, one of English badminton’s greatest doubles players, has decided to call time on a glittering international career.
Clark, aged 34, announced his decision to retire at the end of this year, after competing in this week’s Bitburger Open in the German city of Saarbrucken.
Clark is the one of only two current England players to have played over 100 times for their country, Nathan Robertson being the other.
His achievement was marked at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham in March this year, when Clark was introduced to the fans and presented with a commemorative gold cap. Clark ends his career with 106 England appearances to his name.
One of Clark’s finest achievements in the game came at the 2006 World Badminton Championships in Madrid when he won mixed doubles silver with Donna Kellogg and men’s doubles silver with Robert Blair.
Within a month of that Madrid success Clark also lifted the Denmark Open mixed doubles title with Kellogg and a year later they finished All England runners-up.
It was the springboard to more success and in 2008 Clark and Kellogg won the European title in Herning, Denmark, and the pair climbed to No. 5 in the world rankings.
But it was in men’s doubles that Clark originally made his name as he and Robertson reached No. 4 in the world in a partnership which notably won them the European silver medal in 2004 in Geneva.
The highlight of his men’s doubles career came in 2009 when, partnering Robertson, they became England’s only ever winners of a Super Series event by winning the Singapore Open, beating the then current Olympic champions, Kido and Setiawan.
Clark, who was born in Derby, lives in Coalville (Leics) and represents Nottinghamshire, won medals at all three of his Commonwealth Games, including taking silver with Robertson in Delhi last year. He competed for Great Britain in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and was also a key member of the 2007 England squad that won the Sudirman Cup bronze medal in Glasgow.
In addition to his international success, he has also achieved major success at national level. He became a “double” winner of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles on no less than three occasions.
However his achievement of winning nine successive men’s doubles titles between 2002 and 2010 established a record for consecutive wins. Six of those wins came with Robertson, two with Blair and one with Simon Archer. His mixed doubles success came with Donna Kellogg.
Clark, who started playing badminton at the age of 12 and won the National Junior Under 19 singles and doubles titles in 1996 before making his senior England debut in 1998, said:
“Badminton has played a major part in my life over the past 20 years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have played in and visited many countries around the world and been fortunate to have been so successful.
I have many people to thank for that success. BADMINTON England has supported me during the whole of my career and has made it possible for me to compete at the highest level.
I would also like to thank the coaches with whom I’ve worked, as again, without their help I would not have achieved the success I have. In particular, I would like to mention Andy Wood and Rexy Mainaky, as both are great coaches and they have helped me tremendously. I would also like to thank the current team of coaches at the National Badminton Centre, Milton Keynes.
I also have to thank UK Sport, the National Lottery and Head for supporting me financially and again allowing me to compete at an international level.
Finally, I have to thank my family who have supported me through the good times and the bad. Firstly, my wife Emma, and my children, Mia and Rowan, who have provided wonderful family support despite having had to put up with me being away from home for days and weeks at a time. I know they will all be happy to see me more often. Secondly, to my mum and dad who have encouraged me at every turn and pushed me into becoming a world class player.
I finish playing in the knowledge that I have achieved the best I possibly could and with notable success. I have had a fantastic time and have had many proud moments both individually and with the England team. I have many moments to look back on and in particular the World Championship success in 2006. My proudest moment, however, has to be achieving 100 caps for England and being part of a very successful team.
With regard to the future, I would love to stay in the sport in some capacity. That may be in coaching, as I would love to give back to younger players much of what my coaches passed on to me.”
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive of BADMINTON England, said today: “Anthony has been a great ambassador for English badminton and we will miss his passion, determination and experience.
“There are very few athletes across the world of sport who can boast of representing their country more than 100 times. We all know how proud he has been to represent England and his success as a world class player for so long says everything about his ability.
We hope he will remain involved in the sport because he is such a huge inspiration to youngsters starting out in the game as well as our emerging talent. He goes into retirement with our gratitude and heartfelt best wishes.”