Robertson and Emms one match away from badminton gold

When Nathan Robertson arched his back to see Jonas Rasmussen's lob shot drop outside the tramlines of court one in the Goudi Olympic Hall yesterday, sheer joy and disbelief coursed through his long, linear frame in equal measure.

When Nathan Robertson arched his back to see Jonas Rasmussen's lob shot drop outside the tramlines of court one in the Goudi Olympic Hall yesterday, sheer joy and disbelief coursed through his long, linear frame in equal measure.

He flung his headband away, jumped in the air and sank to the ground on his back, his legs bent double under his body. Had it not been for the brown hair and the shape of the racket, he could have been Bjorn Borg.

Robertson is from Nottingham, not Södertälje. He is also one match away from a golden first for British racket sport. The wait for Tim Henman to deliver on Borg's old patch on SW19 might have turned into an eternally unfulfilling quest, but Robertson and his mixed doubles partner, Gail Emms, could be Britain's first Olympic badminton champions by 6pm BST today.

The capeless dynamic duo are already Britain's most successful Olympians in their sport. With their rousing victory against Rasmussen and Rikke Olsen, 15-6, 15-2, they cleared the semi-final hurdle and the possible pitfall of a winner-takes-all bronze medal match.

At the very least, they are guaranteed to take the silver medals. And that happens to be one shade of colour better than Britain's only previous reward from the Olympic badminton court: the bronze medals gained in the same event in Sydney four years ago by Joanne Goode, as she was at the time, and Simon Archer.

It was little wonder, then, that Robertson should lose control of his emotions - and that, after picking himself off the floor and hugging his equally joyous partner, he should make straight for the front row of the stands and pluck his daughter out of the crowd. "That's Neve," he said. "She's six. She's my biggest supporter."

Not that Emms was to be outdone. She had six members of her family in the raucous contingent of Union Jack-waving British supporters.

Among them was her mother, Jackie, who has her own claim to sporting fame. She played for England in the women's football world cup in Mexico in 1971.

The 5ft 4in Emms and the 6ft 2in Robertson are a little and large combination with considerably greater timing, delivery and punch than the "comedic" pairing of that name. They both play in the Danish League for the Hvidovre club. Robertson lives in Denmark during the season, while Emms commutes for matches from her home in Bedford.

Their Danish opponents yesterday were far from unfamiliar to them. They had, in fact, already beaten them several times already this year.

The task now, though, for the 27-year-olds is a daunting one. Their opponents in the final are the competition's number two seeds and the reigning Olympic champions, Gao Ling and Jun Zhang of China.

"We'll go in as the underdogs," Emms acknowledged. "We've got nothing to lose, and gold medals to gain. We've won our medals now. It's just a question of what colour they'll be.

"We can afford to go in relaxed, play our own game and just see what happens."

"I knew this was the biggest match of my life but I wasn't as nervous coming into it," said Robertson. "I was absolutely confident that we were going to win. We knew that if we just stuck to our plan we would keep scoring points and if we just played well we would win.

"We knew they have trouble serving, especially to me. Rikke [Olsen] seems to feel a lot of pressure when she's serving against me," added the Briton.

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little