Badminton: Clark unearths bronze and then plans for retirement: Rare booty for the mixed doubles act

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ENGLAND'S longest serving player, Gill Clark, will retire in 18 months, she announced yesterday, after helping the home country earn their first world championship medal for six years. The 31-year-old from Wimbledon, whose mixed doubles progress with Nick Ponting threatened to continue during an excellent semi-final performance here on Saturday, is thus unlikely to be a candidate as England manager.

Clark will stop after the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada - whereas England expect to name their managerial successor, Ciro Ciniglio, by July 1994.

The 15-8, 18-15 defeat which Clark and Ponting experienced against the eventual winners, Thomas Lund, of Denmark, and Catrine Bengtsson, of Sweden, contained moments when they looked capable of extending the world's best pair the full distance. They led 8-3 and 13-12 and at 14-13 considered themselves unlucky when Clark was penalised for slinging the shuttle by the umpire.

All five world titles changed hands yesterday, although China's Nong Qunhua won the women's doubles with a new partner. Indonesia won both singles for the first time since 1980 and Susi Susanti earned a unique unofficial grand slam of four major titles when she recovered from a shaky start to win

7-11, 11-9, 11-3 against Bang Soo- hyun, of South Korea. It added the world to the Olympic, All- England and World Grand Prix titles she already had.

Her compatriot, Joko Suprianto, the World Cup holder, won the men's singles

15-5, 15-11 against Hermano Susanto.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (Birmingham): Men's singles semi-finals: S Susanto (Indon) bt T Stuer-Lauridsen (Den) 10-15 15-2 15-10; J Suprianto (Indon) bt A Wiranata (Indon) 18-14 15-3. Final: Suprianto bt Susanto 15-5 15-11. Doubles semi-finals: Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang (Mal) bt Chen Kang and Chen Hongyong (Ch) 15-6 15-5; R Subagja and R Gunawan (Indon) bt P Axelsson and P Jonsson (Swe) 15-9 11-15 15-4. Final: Subagja and Gunawan bt Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang 15-11 15-3. Women's singles semi-finals: Bang Soo-hyun (S Kor) bt Tang Jiuhong (Ch) 11-3 10-12 12-10; S Susanti (Indon) bt Ye Zhaoying (Ch) 12-10 12-10. Final: Susanti bt Bang Soo-hyun 7-11 11-9 11-3. Doubles semi-finals: Nong Qunhua and Zhou Lei (Ch) bt L Olsen and L Stuer-Lauridsen (Den) 15-2 15-13; Chen Ying and Wu Yuhong (Ch) bt Chung So-young and Gil Young-ah (S Kor) 15-7 6-15 15-11. Final: Nong Qunhua and Zhou Lei bt Chen Ying and Wu Yuhong (China) 15-5 15-10. Mixed doubles semi-finals: T Lund (Den) and C Bengtsson (Swe) bt N Ponting and G Clark (GB) 15-8 18-15; J Holst-Christensen and G Mogensen (Den) bt A Miranat and Elisa (Indon) 15-5 15-4. Final: Lund and Bengtsson bt Holst- Christensen and Mogensen 10-15 15-6 15-12.