18.08.16: Hoi confidence as Langridge & Ellis target Olympic bronze
Chris Langridge and Marcus Elliswill have no fear when they take on their Chinese men’s doubles opponents later with head coach Jakob Hoi insisting the duo have never been better prepared to try and claim an Olympic medal.
Not since Gail Emms MBE and Nathan Robertson won mixed doubles silver at Athens 2004 have Great Britain had a badminton podium finish in any event at an Olympic Games.
That could all change with Langridge and Ellis scheduled to take to the court in Rio from 2.10pm (Thursday), where they will face China's Chai Biao and Hong Wei in the Olympic bronze medal match.
It follows an impressive run in the Olympic badminton competition for the British pair, who won their final two group games to reach the quarter-finals where they also defeated Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa.
Chinese fourth seeds Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan proved too powerful for the Brits in the semi-finals but Langridge and Ellis - who only started playing together two years ago - get the chance to go again in the third-placed play-off.
Hoi said: “I want that medal so badly, the boys want that medal so badly.
“The Chinese should go into it as favourites – they won the Superseries Finals a year ago and they have been in several finals against the best in the world.
“But the Chinese team overall is stressed. They have a lot less golds than what they would normally get at a time like this.
“So there is a lot of pressure on them and I hope we can capitalise. All I can say is that we have never been as well prepared as we are now.
“Now it’s a matter of nerves and delivering.
“That’s what this bronze medal is about, it’s about how can we actually wash off the semi-final defeat and get on with it."
Confidence has been building for Langridge and Ellis after they arrived in Rio ranked 22nd in the world but then beat the third and eighth-ranked teams to reach the semi-finals.
They progressed out of their group as runners up as Danish pair and London 2012 silver medallists Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen crashed out, with Korean’s Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang topping the table.
The Brits’ only loss in the group stages was to the Danes first up, with Hoi believing the confidence gained from their group stage results set them up for their run to the latter stages.
"Looking at the draw, what I expected was the Danes to come out as group winners and us to potentially come out as runners up because we had beaten the Koreans before,” he added.
“It gave us something to take a set off the Danes the way we did. And then taking out the Poles in two sets, in quite a high-quality match, was pleasing.
“The way Chris and Marcus played the group and managed to come out of the group, I was really proud of that.
“The Chinese pair were better than us in the semi-finals. I can’t go home and be sad that we lost to them.
“They had to be a bit nervous or have a really bad day and they didn’t. They were better than us.
But now we have another chance.”
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.