20.08.16: Hoi hoping Rio bronze can inspire rising stars
Head coach Jakob Hoi has urged badminton players across the country – not just at a social, club and county level but also the elite shuttlers – to take inspiration from Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge’s bronze medal success.
Ellis and Langridge produced a string of outstanding performances at Rio 2016 to secure Great Britain’s maiden men’s doubles Olympic medal and their first in any discipline for 12 years.
The Brits were one of the surprise packages of the badminton competition in Brazil having gone into the tournament ranked 22nd in the world.
And Hoi said: "I’m sure Marcus and Chris’ win means a lot [to badminton in the UK] because we got a lot of attention on the sport and we saw a lot of people get the chance to actually watch high-quality badminton consistently over a couple of days.
"So I hope this can inspire and can show people what real badminton is about. And I know that Marcus and Chris have been strong ambassadors for that in their post-game interviews.
"I would like to think that this will have a direct impact, not just long term but also in the short term, on the everyday play at the National Centre in Milton Keynes.
“We have young players of many different age groups that have been looking at this and watching this and were part of the preparations, and they should see that it can be done. It looks really, really difficult but it can be done.
"I would like to think that our high end of performance badminton will get a boost after this, not just the participation. I really hope that they will be inspired by this. We can do more than what we are doing." '
Hoi watched on first hand as Ellis and Langridge began their campaign with defeat before going on to enjoy a string wins including victories over pairs ranked 3rd and 5th in the world.
And while the eventual winners Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan proved too powerful for the Brits in the semi finals, Ellis and Langridge responded with a 21-18, 19-21, 21-10 victory over Chai Biao and Hong Wei to secure an historic bronze.
Hoi said: "It’s amazing and of course we are all really happy about it. A year and a half ago we were just fighting to qualify, and then we had a few good wins.
“Exactly a year ago we had a quarter-final at the Worlds which was a massive step towards qualifying because that was good points – and since we have had some good wins against top-ten players.
"So you see that we could come out of the group and yeah, the magic happened.
"They have played the best tournament of their lives. Delivering like that at that level, consistently in eight games, is quite an achievement and a really big thing.
“It is one thing to produce their peak level, or maybe even above and beyond, in a match but it is also another thing to do it while under this pressure [at an Olympic Games].
“The Chinese pair in the bronze medal match have been in several finals and won the Super Series Final last year. So we are over the moon and really proud of them both."
The UK Sport target for Britain’s badminton squad at Rio 2016 was a quarter-final place and that was secured by men’s singles player Rajiv Ouseph.
The eight-time national champion won both of his group games before beating seventh seed Tommy Sugiarto in the knock-out stages.
The 29-year-old may have lost his quarter-final to eventual bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen 21-12, 21-16, but the world number 15 can be immensely proud of his efforts in Brazil.
Hoi, who joined Badminton England as doubles coach in 2012, said of Rajiv: "That guy at his age has come in and he’s delivered our target for this tournament [in reaching a quarter-final] and I think that’s incredible.”
You can enjoy more reaction from Jakob Hoi later in the week as he discusses the performances of all members of the Team GB squad out in Rio.
See all the stars of Rio in Birmingham next March! Tickets for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2017 at the Barclaycard Arena are now on general sale.