Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis promised ‘something special’ and they duly delivered, winning Olympic men’s doubles bronze in stunning style.
The Brits had already exceeded expectations having arrived in Rio ranked 22nd in the world, claiming the scalps of the third and eighth ranked pairs.
But they wanted more, especially after a semi-final loss to China’s Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan, both gold medallists at London 2012.
And against China’s Chai Biao and Hong Wei they got their deserved reward to win Britain’s first Olympic badminton medal since Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms claimed mixed doubles silver in 2004.
“On the day we are dangerous, we knew that,” said Langridge, who admitted playing 24 tournaments in 12 months, just to qualify for Rio, had left the pair drained.
“We believe we are good and you have to have that self-belief to achieve things. We know that most of the time, when we play, the pressure is on our opponents because they are higher ranked.
“We know there is almost no pair in the world that we can’t beat and we showed that in this tournament.
“We’ve had some big results this year but not consistently. We know we can take down the big boys now.”
Langridge and Ellis won a tense first game 21-18 and might have been left rueing missed chances after the Chinese took it to a decider, snatching the second game 19-21.
But the British pair won the final game 21-10, but only after a review into the last point after a Langridge serve, which cranked up the tension with the pair suspecting they were seconds away from a medal.
Ellis admitted the pair were ‘deflated’ after their semi-final loss and with their names trending on social media back home, hopes this medal will also inspire future stars.
“We’re proud that we’ve done this for our sport, it’s massive for badminton in our country and I hope all the guys back home can take something from this,” he said.
“This is an amazing sport and we’re so passionate about it and hopefully we’ll have inspired a few people to pick up a racquet.
“We’re not the best in the world but on our day we can beat anybody. We could have folded after the second set and I’m so proud of how we played in the third; we just fought so hard to get that bronze - no-one was taking it off us.”
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.