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Olympic treat for Adcock and White

Olympic treat for Adcock and White

CHRIS ADCOCK and Gabby White are going to the Beijing Olympics.

The surprise invitation for England's world junior mixed doubles silver medallists came today with their inclusion in Team GB's Olympic Ambition Programme.

The teenagers are joined by 20-year-old Scotland star Imogen Bankier as badminton's representatives with Sydney bronze medallist Joanne Goode named as coach.

England already provide the six players who will make up the Team GB badminton squad for Beijing.

Adcock and White's are named in a multi-sport party of athletes and coaches.

Bankier is already showing her mixed doubles potential at senior international level. She and England's Robert Blair reached the Yonex All England quarter-finals as well as the last eight at last month's Singapore and Thailand tournaments. All this has happened since last November when they won the mixed doubles title at the Bank of Scotland Centenary International Championships.

The British Olympic Association's Ambition Programme is designed to enhance athlete medal success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by providing talented potential team members with an opportunity to experience the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. It will see athletes from 33 disciplines spend seven days in Macau and Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.

Adcock, White and Bankier and the athletes from all the other sports will visit the Team GB preparation camp in Macau, the Olympic Village and the Athletes' Lodge. They will also have a press conference fronted by their mentors, Olympians like Denise Lewis, Ed Coode and Alison Mowbray. In addition they will be given the opportunity to watch two competition sessions for their specific discipline.

The programme's focus is based around providing sports specific event exposure and to replicate, as closely as possible, an athlete's overall Olympic experience.

Simon Clegg, Team GB Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, said: "This programme is unique worldwide and is expected to provide a real competitive edge to the participants.

"With the BOA?s aspirational target to finish fourth in the overall medal table in 2012, and research showing that a significantly high percentage of medallists at any Olympic Games have attended previous Olympic Games, this experience can form a vital part of the athletes preparation for Olympic success."

Ed Coode, Britain's Olympic Ambition 2012 Mentor, added: "As a rower I found the first Olympics that I went to in Sydney 2000 to be totally different to anything I had experienced before as a sportsman - even though I had raced at three world Championships prior to this.

"Although the race and competition are essentially the same, the time spent building up to and at the Olympics is unlike anything an athlete would have experienced before.

"At the same time the scale of the hype and the press interest only fuels the novice competitor?s fears that he or she has to do something different at the Olympics. I think this certainly contributed to me underperforming in the Coxless Pairs event in Sydney 2000.

"What I hope to achieve through the Britain's Olympic Ambition 2012 programme is that the young, novice, athletes of 2012 actually achieve 100 per cent of what they are capable of at the London 2012 Olympic Games and their performances do not suffer simply because it is their first games.

"The only way of helping them prepare for the Games is to let them experience it first hand."