Nathan Robertson Backs Wembley for 2012 London Games

On February 7, 2010, in Badminton News, by Emmet Gibney

Nathan Robertson Approves of Wembley

Debate has been raging on for months now regarding venue selection for badminton at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Games organizers want to host the badminton event at Wembley Arena, while the BWF has been pushing for a new venue. The All England Championships used to be played at Wembley Arena in years past, but has since moved to Birmingham.

BBC Sport recently spoke Neither Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork about the venue selection, and neither player seemed to be particularly concerned where the event was held.

Robertson was the silver medalist at Athens in 2004 with former partner Gail Emms, but failed to make it into the medals at Beijing in 2008. Emms has since retired.

Wallwork had the following to say about the venue dispute:

I think wherever it is it is going to fantastic. Everyone’s dream is to go to the Olympics and I really don’t think anyone is going to care where it is at the end of the day. People just want to compete and do their best, so for us it could be anywhere.

Robertson appeared to mirror Wallwork’s sentiment:

For players, Wembley has a lot of history. To win a medal there at the London Olympics would give it a bit of extra spice rather than in a new venue…. I honestly think that if the Olympics weren’t in London I wouldn’t be sitting here as a badminton player. My will to want to go and play at those Olympics and possibly medal is driving me on for the next two years.

Last month BWF President Dr Kang Young Joong was quoted as saying:

The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of sporting achievement and the BWF owes our athletes and its members the responsibility to showcase badminton to the media and the world in the best possible way.

The BWF hopes to have negotiations finalized with the games organizers at their next board meeting in Marc.

5 Responses to Nathan Robertson Backs Wembley for 2012 London Games

  1. Mel Wyatt says:

    The All-England moved to the National Indoor Arena in 1994, so I doubt if the current crop of players feel that passionate about it. Surely the best thing for the badminton event would be to stage it at a venue with the best facilities??? This could be an opportunity for a super stadium which would promote sporting excellence AFTER the 2012 Olympics.

  2. Emmet Gibney says:

    I’m with you Mel. It would be great if they built something that could be used for the sport going forward. I think it’s good that BWF fight for badminton in this issue. Hopefully come spring time they’ll have gotten something from the organizers. Unfortunately time is running out as we have only 2 years to go.

  3. Mel Wyatt says:

    Over in the UK we have a habit of seeing sport and sporting venues as a political issue; I remember talking years ago to the head of a brand new sports venue built to ‘promote sporting excellence’. They had loads of three year old gymnasts, but prices that made it hard for the badminton clubs that used the centre. The head of the centre explained that he had been told he had to make a profit or he was gone. Seems promoting sporting excellence wasn’t as important as we were told…

  4. Russell Clarke says:

    I don’t see anyone speaking up for the spectators anywhere.
    It will be a great shame for Badminton to be banished to Wembley away from the rest of the games as it will make it hard for them (me!) to watch other sports. Also I can’t help thinking that there will be a distinct lack of atmosphere. Plus of course a lot of spectators will just be put off even bothering to go if they’re not particularly badminton fanatics. The players may be getting special treatment with short journey times, but I see no mention of spectators getting short journey times. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong!

  5. Emmet Gibney says:

    Good point you have there Russell. I don’t know the geography of the different venues, so I have no idea how inconvenient Wembley would be. I think for the sport it’s best for them to focus on getting the most spectators out as possible!

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