Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson tapped into the same volatile chemistry which helped them to a silver medal four years ago to rescue their Olympic ambitions yesterday.
They came back from six points down in the final set to defeat Chinese No 2 seeds Gao Ling and Zheng Bo 21-16, 16-21, 21-19, with one of the feistiest performances so far at these Games. "You wouldn't want to meet me on a dark night. I'm scary," said Emms.
Indeed, she argued with the umpire, pumped her fists so much that she received a warning, but then lifted the team when they were 16-10 and 17-12 down in that last set to record a famous victory. Emms, whose mother Jan scored two goals for England against Norway as a centre forward in the 1971 football World Cup in Mexico, said: "You have to be pumped. If I'm in their face and showing them I'm not scared and going to get everything back then I've got that confidence and belief."
Emms' motivation stems from the fact that she has decided to retire at the end of the Olympics at the age of 31, having won world championship, European and Commonwealth gold. The missing metal is Olympic gold to go with the silver she and Robertson won in Athens.
If that explains the courage and determination then the key was also the composure and tactical nous to pepper Zheng with smashes to secure a quarter-final against Korean pair Lee Hyojung and Lee Yongdae.
"You just have to stick in there," she said. "I knew we could get it back. We were playing brilliant. But it's just one match, we've just got to do it again in the quarter-final. If we keep fighting then who knows?"Reuse content