Robin. True Brit.
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
Yes, we're just back from seeing Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms narrowly missing out on the mixed doubles Badminton gold. We saw the women's final first, which was won by a Chinese woman after she lost the first set to a Dutch woman - big and very vocal supports for both. Then the men's doubles semi-final, Danes won the first set, but then lost the next two to the South Koreans who went through.
And then to the match we'd gone for. There was a big British following and we were just behind the very loud Chinese bunch. Flags aplenty and muchos shouting. The Brits lost the first game 15-1, but rallied superbly to win the second set. The decider was really close, but Gail seemed nervous and her unforced errors (which, apparently, she hadn't been making in earlier rounds) eventually caught up with the pair and the Chinese pipped them to the gold. Still, amazing performance to get silver and they looked rightly pleased and proud as they received their medals (though that may have been because they received them in the presence of Robin).
It was funny seeing so many British flags about - we Brits are far more used to cheering for our individual countries of England. Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. In fact, I think this is the first time I've seen Britain (as opposed to England) play at anything. You could tell everyone else wasn't used to it either. When people were trying to start chants they weren't sure whether to say 'GB', 'UK', 'Britain' or 'Great Britain'.
But even though our pair lost, I really enjoyed seeing badminton played at such a high level - it was quick, graceful and tactical. Think I picked up a few tips. The folks from work that I play at the Central YMCA in London had better watch out..!