OLYMPIC silver medallist Gail Emms has urged Huddersfield badminton ace Marcus Ellis to wring every drop of inspiration out of London 2012 – whether he makes it or not.
Despite having ended her career as a two-time Olympian, Emms was most definitely a late blossomer, her debut Games in Athens, where she claimed silver, came aged 27.
In contrast Ellis is on the relative fast-track to success. Aged just 21 he is already making waves in the senior badminton world and has caught the eye of the now-retired Emms.
Despite his impressive career to date – including taking the junior national mixed doubles title in 2007/2008 – Ellis will be an outsider to be part of events in the capital next year.
But whether he’s involved or not, Emms believes the Huddersfield youngster needs to take everything he can from the opportunity of a home Games.
“I have seen Marcus play and he is a very talented boy,” said Emms.
“For youngsters like Marcus 2012 should be a really big motivation. The most important thing for the younger players coming through now is how they use 2012 as an inspiration for the next year and then after that as they look to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympics.
“I know all about missing out on Olympics because the first Games I went to was when I was 27 and so I know about that and I know how important it is to use missing out as a positive.
“For all the younger players coming through like Marcus 2012 should be a massive motivation for them to look at and use to help them improve over this year and next.”
And Emms believes however slim the chance of participation is, Ellis needs to set his sights firmly on London 2012 selection.
“What youngsters like Marcus need to do is to make sure they do everything they can to try and go for London and see how close they can get and then if they don’t make it they will almost definitely have improved in the course of trying to get there,” Emms added.
“Just because they might not be at 2012 doesn’t mean they won’t be challenging in the years to come.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week uses the power of London 2012 to inspire children to try Olympic and Paralympic sports. Your local school could carry the Olympic Flame in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay or win tickets to London 2012 at: www.lloydstsb.com/nationalschoolsportweek