January 2012 All News
GB Badminton's 2012 programme gets tough
With little more than three months to go before the London 2012 qualification period concludes, GB Badminton continues to demonstrate its focus on medal potential athletes to represent Great Britain at London 2012.
The regular reviews of each athlete has already seen men’s singles hope Carl Baxter and men’s doubles pair Chris Langridge and Anthony Clark drop out of the race to London.
And today Scotland’s Robert Blair and England’s Gabby White (pictured), one of the three pairs in the mixed doubles race, became the latest Olympic players to be removed from Badminton’s ‘Olympic Track’ when they fell out of contention by slipping below their two GB rivals to No. 26 in the world rankings.
As a consequence Blair is to lose his place on the GB World Class Performance Programme, while White will focus on her women’s doubles partnership with Jenny Wallwork as well as look ahead to Rio in 2016.
The Blair/White partnership started well last year with a semi-final appearance at the 2011 Malaysian Open in January and a title triumph at the Yonex German Open six weeks later but since then has struggled to make a tournament impact.
GB Performance Director Jens Grill, who is head of the World Class Performance Programme, said: “The year-long qualifying race is so hard on the players and their performances come under constant review.
“Once all realistic hope of qualification is gone we have to make hard decisions and, regrettably, this is what has happened here with Robert and Gabby.
“We explained to Robert in November that he still had to be in contention in January to remain on the GB World Class Performance Programme.
“Unfortunately their ranking points from Malaysia dropped off their World ranking this month and their German points will go next month so they were facing an impossible situation.”
Edinburgh-born Blair, 30, a world men’s doubles silver medallist in 2006, said today: “Obviously I am disappointed to be leaving the GB World Class Performance Programme, especially after Gabby and I started our partnership so well.
“I had looked forward to competing at London 2012 but I will continue to re-qualify for Scotland and my focus now will be on representing them at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I plan to continue my training in Scotland and will still compete on the international tournament circuit once I have had a chance to consider my partnership options.”
White, 21, said: “I am very disappointed that our efforts to qualify have ended but I know we gave it our best shot. I wish Robert the best of luck while I will now focus on my women’s doubles with Jenny Wallwork.
“Luckily I am also young enough to be in a position to challenge for a place in the GB squad for Rio in 2016. That now has to be my long-term goal.”
The GB players on who are still in the qualification race for London 2012 (with Jan 26 world rankings) are:
24 Rajiv Ouseph (Eng).
33 Susan Egelstaff (Sco)
51 Elizabeth Cann (Eng).
25 Chris Adcock & Andrew Ellis (Eng).
26 Mariana Agathangelou & Heather Olver (Eng)
14 Chris Adcock (Eng) & Imogen Bankier (Sco)
18 Nathan Robertson & Jenny Wallwork (Eng).
*For two pairs to qualify in doubles, both must be in the top eight in the 3 May world rankings