Gail Emms

Gail Emms
Personal information
Birth nameGail Elizabeth Emms
Born23 July 1977 (age 43)
Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England
Height1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
CoachAndy Wood
Julian Robertson
Women's & mixed doubles
Highest ranking1 (XD with Nathan Robertson)
Medal record
Women's badminton
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
2004 Athens Mixed doubles
Representing  England
World Championships
2006 Madrid Mixed doubles
Sudirman Cup
2007 Glasgow Mixed team
Commonwealth Games
2002 Manchester Mixed team
2006 Melbourne Mixed doubles
2006 Melbourne Mixed team
2002 Manchester Women's doubles
2006 Melbourne Women's doubles
European Championships
2004 Geneva Mixed doubles
2006 Den Bosch Women's doubles
2002 Malmö Mixed doubles
2008 Herning Women's doubles
2008 Herning Mixed doubles
European Mixed Team Championships
2000 Glasgow Mixed team
2002 Malmö Mixed team
2008 Herning Mixed team
2006 Den Bosch Mixed team
European Women's Team Championships
2006 Thessalonica Women's team
World Junior Championships
1994 Kuala Lumpur Mixed doubles
European Junior Championships
1995 Nitra Girls' doubles
1995 Nitra Mixed team
BWF profile

Gail Elizabeth Emms MBE (born 23 July 1977) is a retired English badminton player who has achieved international success in doubles tournaments. A badminton player since the age of four, Emms was first chosen to represent England in 1995 and regularly played for her country until her retirement from professional sport in 2008.

Her best results were winning gold at the 2006 World Championships in Madrid, 2004 European Championships in Geneva, and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, partnering Nathan Robertson in the mixed doubles. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester she won a bronze medal with Joanne Goode in the women's doubles and won gold as part of the England team in the mixed team event. In the English National Championships she won the mixed doubles three times and the women's doubles twice.


Early life and career

Emms attended the Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford, a private girls' school. She and Nathan Robertson reached the semifinals of 1994 World Junior Championships held in Kuala Lumpur.[1] In 1998 she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science from Kingston University.[2] After graduating Emms became a full-time professional badminton player with the help of national lottery funded grants paid to her by UK Sport.[3] Her father owned a building firm that collapsed in the recession of the late 1980s leading to a sudden decline in the family standard of living. Her mother, Janice Emms (née Barton), played for the unofficial England women's national football team. Her parents divorced while Emms was in her early teens.[4]

2004 Athens Summer Olympics

Emms competed in badminton at the 2004 Summer Olympics in women's doubles with partner Donna Kellogg. They defeated Koon Wai Chee and Li Wing Mui of Hong Kong in the first round but were defeated by Zhao Tingting and Wei Yili of China in the second round.

She also competed in mixed doubles with Robertson. They had a bye in the first round and defeated Björn Siegemund and Nicol Pitro of Germany in the second. In the quarterfinals, Emms and Robertson beat Chen Qiqiu and Zhao Tingting of China 15–8, 17–15 to advance to the semifinals. There, they beat Jonas Rasmussen and Rikke Olsen of Denmark 15–6, 15–12. In the final, they lost to the Chinese pair Zhang Jun and Gao Ling 1–15, 15–12, 12–15 to finish with the silver medal.

2006 Commonwealth Games

The 2006 Commonwealth Games brought Emms a silver in the team event, a bronze in the women's doubles (with Donna Kellogg) and a gold in the mixed doubles (with Nathan Robertson). An additional gold together with Robertson followed at the 2006 IBF World Championships.

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

Emms participated in the women's doubles with partner Donna Kellogg only to be knocked out in the first round by the Chinese pair Wei Yili and Zhang Yawen. Emms then went on to win her first match in the mixed doubles with Nathan Robertson against the Chinese world number 2 pair. Emms and Robertson won the first game 21–16 before Gao Ling and her new partner Zheng Bo hit back to win the second 21–16. The British duo found themselves 12–17 down in the decider only to recover to win 21–19. Emms and Robertson lost out on a medal at the quarter final stage against the world number 10 pair and eventual gold medalist Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung of South Korea.

Emms retired after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.[5]

Later career

After 2008 Emms started a portfolio career and has engaged in badminton coaching, motivational speaking, media activities, TV commentary and product endorsements. The latter includes work for SKODA cars and Adidas. Emms has worked as a TV presenter and commentator for the BBC, Sky and BT Sport.[6] She has delivered talks on performance, teamwork and gender issues at events held by many prominent clients including the Ashridge Business School, Sainsbury's and the Thames Valley Police.

In 2013 she was appointed to the Badminton England coaching staff with a remit to develop young female prospects and mixed doubles pairs.[7] But loss of financial support for badminton from UK Sport in 2017 resulted in cutbacks to the coaching programmes which impacted on Emms' position.[8] She has subsequently been critical of UK Sport's strategy in allocating funds, suggesting that its emphasis on elite level players and Olympic medal results is inappropriate.

Emms has appeared on the sports-based panel show A Question of Sport and is a regular guest on Fighting Talk. On 6 March 2014, she appeared on Sport Relief's Top Dog with her dog Raffa, a Westie. They won their heat, and went on to win the semi-final against Jenni Falconer on 20 March and the final, where they competed against Sally Gunnell.

Personal life

Emms was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[9]

She gave birth to her first child, Harry, in March 2010 and to her second child, Oliver, in May 2013. In 2015 she was living in Milton Keynes with her partner. After retiring as a badminton player in 2008 Emms has periodically suffered from depression.[10][11] She has spoken about the difficulty many professional athletes have in adjusting to life after retiring from their sport while still young.[12]

Emms is a passionate supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.[13] She participated in the 2017 Great North Run half marathon in order to raise money for SportsAid, finishing in a time of 1 hour and 48 minutes.[14]


Olympic Games

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2004 Goudi Olympic Hall, Athens, Greece Nathan Robertson Zhang Jun
Gao Ling
1–15, 15–12, 12–15 Silver

World Championships

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2006 Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad, Madrid, Spain Nathan Robertson Anthony Clark
Donna Kellogg
21–15, 21–12 Gold

Commonwealth Games

Women's doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2002 Bolton Arena, Manchester, England Joanne Goode Ang Li Peng
Lim Pek Siah
4–7, 8–6, 6–8, 4–7 Bronze
2006 Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia Donna Kellogg Trupti Murgunde
Saina Nehwal
21–14, 21–9 Bronze

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2006 Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia Nathan Robertson Daniel Shirley
Sara Petersen
21–17, 21–10 Gold

European Championships

Women's doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2006 Maaspoort Sports and Events, Den Bosch, Netherlands Donna Kellogg Nicole Grether
Juliane Schenk
21–12, 21–10 Gold
2008 Messecenter, Herning, Denmark Donna Kellogg Lena Frier Kristiansen
Kamilla Rytter Juhl
18–21, 18–21 Silver

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
2002 Baltiska Hallen, Malmö, Sweden Nathan Robertson Jens Eriksen
Mette Schjoldager
5–7, 3–7, 1–7 Silver
2004 Queue d’Arve Sport Center, Geneva, Switzerland Nathan Robertson Jonas Rasmussen
Rikke Olsen
15–3, 8–15, 15–5 Gold
2008 Messecenter, Herning, Denmark Nathan Robertson Robert Mateusiak
Nadieżda Kostiuczyk
21–14, 10–21, 6–21 Bronze

World University Championships

Women's doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1996 Strasbourg, France Tracey Hallam Chen Li-chin
Tsai Hui-min
12–15, 17–15, 11–15 Bronze
1998 Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey Sara Hardaker Chen Li-chin
Tsai Hui-min

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1996 Strasbourg, France Richard Doling Kim Young-gil
Choi Ma-ree
7–15, 15–12, 7–15 Silver
1998 Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey Lee Clapham Liang Yongping
Liu Lu

World Junior Championships

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1994 Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Nathan Robertson Zhang Wei
Qiang Hong
14–17, 5–15 Bronze

European Junior Championships

Girls' doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1995 Športová hala Olympia, Nitra, Slovakia Ella Miles

BWF Superseries

The BWF Superseries, which was launched on 14 December 2006 and implemented in 2007,[15] is a series of elite badminton tournaments, sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Successful players are invited to the Superseries Finals, which are held at the end of each year.

Mixed doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
2007 Malaysia Open Nathan Robertson Zheng Bo
Gao Ling
12–21, 21–14, 15–21 Runner-up
2007 Denmark Open Nathan Robertson He Hanbin
Yu Yang
17–21, 21–19, 17–21 Runner-up
  BWF Superseries Finals tournament
  BWF Superseries tournament

IBF World Grand Prix

The World Badminton Grand Prix has been sanctioned by the International Badminton Federation from 1983 to 2006.

Women's doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
2000 U.S. Open Joanne Wright Emma Constable
Suzanne Rayappan
15–7, 15–1 Winner
2002 Swiss Open Lotte Jonathans Lee Kyung-won
Ra Kyung-min
1–7, 1–7, 1–7 Runner-up
2005 Korea Open Donna Kellogg Lee Hyo-jung
Lee Kyung-won
Walkover Runner-up
2005 Thessaloniki Grand Prix Donna Kellogg Chor Hooi Yee
Lim Pek Siah
17–14, 15–8 Winner
2005 Denmark Open Donna Kellogg Kumiko Ogura
Reiko Shiota
6–15, 9–15 Runner-up
2006 Denmark Open Donna Kellogg Kamila Augustyn
Nadiezda Kostiuczyk
20–22, 10–21 Runner-up

Mixed doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
2000 U.S. Open Ian Sullivan Jonas Rasmussen
Jane F. Bramsen
15–8, 11–15, 13–15 Runner-up
2000 German Open Ian Sullivan Jonas Rasmussen
Jane F. Bramsen
3–15, 15–7, 4–15 Runner-up
2001 Dutch Open Nathan Robertson Chris Bruil
Lotte Jonathans
7–5, 3–7, 7–3, 7–4 Winner
2001 Denmark Open Nathan Robertson Tri Kusharjanto
Emma Ermawati
5–7, 1–7, 4–7 Runner-up
2002 Malaysia Open Nathan Robertson Wang Wei
Zhang Yawen
11–9, 11–4 Winner
2002 Singapore Open Nathan Robertson Kim Dong-moon
Ra Kyung-min
2–11, 10–13 Runner-up
2003 Thailand Open Nathan Robertson Chen Qiqiu
Zhao Tingting
4–11, 11–8, 0–11 Runner-up
2003 Malaysia Open Nathan Robertson Kim Dong-moon
Ra Kyung-min
6–15, 5–15 Runner-up
2004 Thailand Open Nathan Robertson Sudket Prapakamol
Saralee Thungthongkam
8–15, 15–12, 15–11 Winner
2004 Denmark Open Nathan Robertson Chen Qiqiu
Zhao Tingting
4–15, 11–15 Runner-up
2005 German Open Nathan Robertson Lee Jae-jin
Lee Hyo-jung
12–15, 14–17 Runner-up
2005 All England Open Nathan Robertson Thomas Laybourn
Kamilla Rytter Juhl
15–10, 15–12 Winner
2005 Swiss Open Nathan Robertson Nova Widianto
Liliyana Natsir
17–14, 15–6 Winner
2005 Hong Kong Open Nathan Robertson Xie Zhongbo
Zhang Yawen
8–15, 5–15 Runner-up
2005 China Open Nathan Robertson Lee Jae-jin
Lee Hyo-jung
15–10, 15–10 Winner
2006 Swiss Open Nathan Robertson Robert Blair
Natalie Munt
14–17, 15–7, 15–2 Winner
2006 All England Open Nathan Robertson Zhang Jun
Gao Ling
15–12, 14–17, 1–15 Runner-up
2006 Singapore Open Nathan Robertson Nova Widianto
Liliyana Natsir
16–21, 22–20, 21–23 Runner-up

IBF International

Women's doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
1995 Welsh International Lotte Jonathans Elena Rybkina
Marina Yakusheva
8–15, 4–15 Runner-up
1997 Austrian International Joanne Wright Karen Neumann
Nicol Pitro
3–15, 15–10, 8–15 Runner-up
1997 Czech International Rebecca Pantaney Judith Baumeyer
Santi Wibowo
9–2, 9–5, 9–1 Winner
1997 Norwegian International Rebecca Pantaney Jane F. Bramsen
Christina Sørensen
5–9, 6–9, 2–9 Runner-up
1998 Czech International Joanne Wright Lorraine Cole
Tracy Dineen
7–15, 6–15 Runner-up
1998 Irish International Joanne Wright Keelin Fox
Sonya McGinn
17–16, 15–10 Winner
1999 Spanish International Joanne Davies Takae Masumo
Chikako Nakayama
12–15, 11–15 Runner-up
1999 Welsh International Joanne Wright Irina Ruslyakova
Marina Yakusheva
14–17, 14–17 Runner-up
2000 Welsh International Joanne Wright Ella Miles
Sara Sankey
6–8, 4–7, 8–6, – Runner-up

Mixed doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
1995 Hungarian International Nathan Robertson Jürgen Koch
Irina Serova
6–15, 8–15 Runner-up
1995 Irish International Nathan Robertson Julian Robertson
Lorraine Cole
4–15, 4–15 Runner-up
1996 Portugal International Nathan Robertson James Anderson
Emma Constable
12–15, 15–13, 18–13 Winner
1996 Norwegian International Julian Robertson Jonas Rasmussen
Ann-Lou Jørgensen
9–6, 2–9, 9–5, 9–5 Winner
1997 Czech International Ian Sullivan Henrik Andersson
Johanna Persson
11–8, 9–4, 9–3 Winner
1997 Welsh International Ian Sullivan James Anderson
Sara Sankey
6–15, 14–17 Runner-up
1998 Czech International Ian Sullivan Anthony Clark
Lorraine Cole
4–15, 13–15 Runner-up
1998 Scottish International Ian Sullivan Michael Lamp
Mette Schjoldager
10–15, 15–11, 12–15 Runner-up
1999 Portugal International Ian Sullivan Björn Siegemund
Karen Neumann
11–15, 15–12, 8–15 Runner-up
1999 French Open Ian Sullivan Chen Gang
Qin Yiyuan
12–15, 12–15 Runner-up
1999 Australian International Chris Hunt Michael Keck
Erica van den Heuvel
9–15, 10–15 Runner-up
1999 Spanish International Ian Sullivan Fredrik Bergström
Jenny Karlsson
7–15, 15–13, 15–10 Winner
2000 Welsh International Anthony Clark Henrik Andersson
Johanna Persson
7–4, 7–1, 7–0 Winner
2002 BMW Open International Nathan Robertson Mathias Boe
Rikke Olsen
11–9, 3–11, 11–9 Winner

Record against selected opponents

Mixed doubles results with former partner Nathan Robertson against Superseries finalists, World Championships Semi-finalists, and Olympic quarterfinalists.[16]


  1. ^ "Yiew Loong falls after fight" . Straits Times. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  2. ^ Kingston University alumni profiles
  3. ^ Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2017 a hobby sport
  4. ^ Women's Sport Trust Gail Emms
  5. ^ "Emms to quit after Beijing Games" . BBC Sport. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  6. ^ D&D promotional website
  7. ^ Daily Telegraph 22 October 2013, 'Sport in Brief'
  8. ^ Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2017 a hobby sport
  9. ^ "No. 59090" . The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 16.
  10. ^ Daily Mirror 21 March 2015 Olympic hero Gail Emms on depression
  11. ^ The Mixed Zone 2 August 2017 I'm ashamed to admin I'm struggling
  12. ^ The Guardian, 10 October 2017 I lost my identity in badminton
  13. ^ Gail Emms (20 November 2010). "Passions Gail Emms Tottenham Hotspur" . The Times. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  14. ^ The Great Run Company website
  15. ^ "BWF Launches Super Series" . Badminton Australia. 15 December 2006. Archived from the original on 6 October 2007.
  16. ^ Tournament results

External links

Categories: 1977 births | Living people | Sportspeople from Hitchin | English female badminton players | Badminton players at the 2004 Summer Olympics | Badminton players at the 2008 Summer Olympics | Olympic badminton players of Great Britain | Olympic silver medallists for Great Britain | Olympic medalists in badminton | Medalists at the 2004 Summer Olympics | Badminton players at the 2002 Commonwealth Games | Badminton players at the 2006 Commonwealth Games | Commonwealth Games gold medallists for England | Commonwealth Games silver medallists for England | Commonwealth Games bronze medallists for England | Commonwealth Games medallists in badminton | World No. 1 badminton players | People educated at Dame Alice Harpur School | Members of the Order of the British Empire

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