Badminton: Robertson and Emms win all-English final to take gold

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The Independent Online

Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms made up for last year's World Championship disappointment by winning the mixed doubles this time around in Madrid yesterday.

However, their triumph was still tinged with sadness as the Commonwealth gold and Olympic silver medallists beat their close friends Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg 21-15, 21-12.

The outcome represented a great triumph for English badminton but Robertson, who had to pull out on the eve of the 2005 championships with torn ankle ligaments when he and Emms were clear favourites, said: "It was a strange match. Although I said yesterday there was no one I would rather play in the final, in a way it would have been better playing an Asian pair. Donna and Anthony are our friends. It was a difficult match.

"We know each other's styles inside out," he added. "But we have not lost to an English pair in six years and we didn't want the first time to be in a world final."

Emms said: "It was a relief to come out winners. It was a strange match. Anthony and Donna usually beat us in practice.

"But producing both finalists is fantastic for English badminton and hopefully will encourage children to take up the sport."

Robertson added: "We now have Commonwealth gold and we are world champions. We will carry on for another two years and we'll definitely go for gold in Beijing."

Clark said: "Realistically, going into the tournament we would have taken the silver medal. They were very sharp on the first three points of each rally. If we had been facing an Asian pair it would have been a different story. We kept saying to each other 'let's try something different' but nothing worked for us.

"Even so our performance here is a real stepping stone in our partnership."

Clark had to settle for second best in the men's doubles as well as he and Robert Blair lost to China's top seeds Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun 21-9, 21-13. But he can still be proud of two silvers from England's best world championships for 23 years.