Posted by: Richard Frost | 14 Apr 2020

English National Badminton Championships interviews

Original publication date: March 2007
Outlet: Badminton England

Interviews with players and personalities during the English National Badminton Championships 2007 at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

Gail Emms

Gail Emms, Olympic silver medallist, in conversation with sports journalist Richard FrostRichard Frost interviews Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms [after Emms & Robertson beat Ellis & Agathangelou 21-19, 21-16 in 22 minutes]

Are you happy with the result?
Yes, it’s fine. We’ve just come up from Milton Keynes. When you’ve had a two- to three-hour drive, it can be hard as everybody’s expecting great things, but we’re just happy to get through. I’m absolutely knackered!

Are you glad to be back in Manchester?
Definitely, I love being back here! It’s a shame we only get to come to Manchester once a year. I’ve got a couple of friends in the city, so it’s nice to meet up with them.

What do you like to do in the city?
I love the shopping in Manchester. Obviously, it’s nice being at Sportcity, but it’s very self-contained and there’s not really much to do. So it’s great to shop in Selfridges and Harvey Nicks – though I didn’t buy anything this time around.

Are you expecting the same nationals final this year?
Yeah, I’m definitely expecting the same final against Anthony [Clark] and Donna [Kellogg]. It’ll also be the same final as in the world championships. Having the same final in the nationals as in the world championships will be great for English badminton. And I’m also expecting to face Jo [Nicholas] and Natalie [Munt] in the women’s doubles [alongside Kellogg].

How are you coping with all the attention here?
The attention’s exhausting but it’s OK because everyone’s nice, and it’s quite sweet when all the kids are chasing after you. The only thing is, if one finds out that it’s you, then they all come after you! But it’s only a problem if you make it a problem.

Panuga Riou

Panuga Riou on court at the English National Badminton Championships in ManchesterRichard Frost talks to 14-year-old Panuga Riou on her nationals debut [after losing to Westley 21-12, 21-15 in 27 minutes in the quarter-finals]

Are you pleased with how the tournament went?
I’m very pleased to have got so far. I knew if I played OK, I could get to the quarter-finals, so I think that I’ve done well.

Have you ever been to Manchester before?
No, this is my first time – Manchester’s a nice place. I had a quick tour of the sights last night, but ended up getting lost for a while because it’s so big!

Would you say there’s a lot of competition in the junior badminton ranks at the moment?
There are a few more good players in my year and the year above, so I’m surprised there aren’t more people of my age here.

And do you have a message for any budding young badminton players out there?
If you dream it, then you can do it!

Chris Hunt

Veteran badminton player and coach Chris Hunt at the National Cycling Centre in ManchesterRichard Frost talks to 38-year-old Chris Hunt, the oldest player at the tournament [after Hunt & Archer beat Penn & Taylor 21-18, 21-15]

So Chris, are you happy with your performance?
Well, put it this way, at least I didn’t need my zimmerframe out there today!

Are you aware that you’re officially the oldest player competing this year?
No, I didn’t realise that. I guess it’s something to be proud of. But it’s never a good sign when neither you or your team-mate can get to the drop shots. We both just tend to look at each other and shrug our shoulders.

What was your preparation like for the tournament?
Well, I only had three weeks’ practice for the championships, and nothing at all before that. I dislocated my shoulder a few years ago and I’m more involved in the coaching side than anything now. I’m actually coaching one of the other players here.

What are your thoughts about Dean George and Chris Tonks, your opponents in the next round?
Well, all I know is that they’re both young players, so it should be a good test for us. Mind you, everybody seems young to me. If you’re under 37, you’re young in my book.

Cheryl Goodwin

Stockport-based sports physiotherapist Cheryl GoodwinRichard Frost talks to physiotherapist Cheryl Goodwin

How have you found the tournament so far?
It’s been relatively quiet with injuries so far, to be honest. A few players have come to me to get strappings on their legs, and a few more for shin-splints, but to be honest it might be more psychological support than anything.

How does the physio department work at the nationals?
There’s two of us working during the weekend. I’m employed by Manchester City Council and I look after all the players who need physio work, whatever their status. Then there’s a second physio who just looks after the players on the elite setup, although we sometimes overlap if it gets very busy and the other physio needs some help.

What do you do away from the championships?
I work in a private practice based in Stockport, which specialises in sports injuries. But to be honest, I don’t really play badminton myself. I prefer squash and running – I’ll be doing the Great Manchester Run later this year, which should be fun.

Charity Barnes

Charity Barnes at the 2007 English National Badminton ChampionshipsRichard Frost interviews Charity Barnes [after beating Johnson 18-21, 21-13, 24-22 in 46 minutes]

How did you find it out on the court?
It was very hot. I didn’t play well in the first game at all, though the second went much better. I was 10-4 up, but then the stoppage came because sunlight was reflecting off the upper windows, and the judge decided it was reflecting in Elena’s eyes. I was a bit worried at that point because it was going so well and I’ve never had a stoppage like that before. But in the end, I won the second at a canter, so I don’t think it affected me much. Maybe it affected her more.

Do you enjoy the closer games more?
No, I don’t really like tense games at all, and nor does my mum, though thankfully she’s not here today.

Are you balancing the demands of badminton, university and a part-time job OK?
I’m finding it really difficult to balance everything at the moment. I’m in my final year of uni [at Hertfordshire University] and I do a part-time job as well. So I’m only managing to do an hour a week of training, which is pretty rubbish. But I finish uni in the summer and then it all depends on money whether I take up badminton full-time or not. I’ll probably try part-time at first and see how it goes.

How did you find your new women’s doubles partner? [Helen Davies, after Caroline Smith dropped out at the last minute]
From the junior circuit. I’ve known her for a few years, but we’ve never played doubles together before. I’m a singles player, but I figured what’s the point in playing maybe two matches when I could play doubles as well? Davies was stuck in traffic for a while earlier today, but she’s here now. The only thing is, she’s forgotten her kit, so she’s going to buy some clothes from the shops around the arena, which should be interesting. I don’t think we’ll last very long!


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